EU Energy Market Regulation after the 2022 Energy Crisis: the reforms so far and the challenges ahead

Författare: Hancher Leigh

The 2022 energy crisis triggered a raft of market reforms. Professor Leigh Hancher (Tilburg University) outlines these changes and assesses whether they deliver on the EU’s three long-standing aims: sustainability, affordability, and security of supply. (2024:1epa)

The EU is vulnerable to energy shortages, and energy prices were already rising when Vladimir Putin began to exploit this vulnerability in the run up to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. All this led to price spikes, temporary factory shutdowns and, in many parts of the Union, cold homes.

National authorities responded by providing industries and households with financial support to the tune of tens of billions of euros, and, in the weeks following the invasion, the European Commission introduced an emergency package of measures under the title ‘RePowerEU’ which sought to mitigate the worst effects and legitimize those national actions. Later that year, the EU issued five Regulations, which among other things capped the wholesale price of gas.

In this new analysis for SIEPS, Professor of European Law Leigh Hancher describes the context of the crisis (including the green transition) and sets out the reforms made so far as well as those under way. She considers whether the crisis response has empowered the EU institutions at the expense of national governments, whether there is real commitment to energy solidarity between member states, and what trends we can discern in policymaking.

The author concludes that, while the recent reforms helped the EU’s energy market to cope with the strain of the crisis without breaking, the goals of affordability and security of supply are today being pursued at the expense of achieving sustainability.