EU Engagement with Shale Gas


Several European Union (EU) member states have an explicit ambition to strengthen their energy security by tapping into indigenous shale gas reserves. To date a complex set of factors has contributed to the fact that no commercial shale gas extraction has taken place. Though debates in the European Commission (EC) and the European Parliament (EP) continue, decision-making regarding shale gas extraction continues to be an affair primarily addressed at the member state level. In this short paper, we argue that while the division of labor between supranational institutions and member states in the EU seems to have been demarcated clearly for now, intra-EU debates about shale gas extraction will inevitably continue, as the EC continues to have a large mandate related to environmental issues such as air quality and water quality. It may be that European institutions in the coming years propose binding European legislation specific to shale gas after all.

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