Only 13 Member States belong to the Euro. We could still argue that the current scenario would be a more integrationist one, since, independently of the degree of deepening of each of the policies one considers, the Community method is more frequent than variable geometries on the whole.
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Its main restriction is that it does not capture the vertical dimension of the phenomenon of integration, but only the horizontal one. Despite this constraint, it is still useful, due to its greater simplicity. Identifying integration also with deepening would involve us in a very difficult discussion about the ways of measuring the different degrees of integration. In the first place, the EU, at present, can be depicted as a very complex mix of supranational and intergovernmental features, coupled with a certain dose of variable geometries, as said in the previous section.
Legally speaking, the supranational features are mainly composed of the EC Treaty, which contains, as is known, all the provisions relative to the European Community. From an institutional perspective, the supranational features are formed by the existence of three main institutions, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Court of Justice and an important number of administrative agencies. Further, from the perspective of the decision-making rules, many Community legal acts are adopted through majority voting.
This is a key supranational feature, which has been the battleground of profound and sometimes tragic political and also academic disputes. Finally, as far as policies are concerned, market policies constitute the core of the policies managed through supranational means. I refer, for example, to the EU environmental policy, its social policy and its consumer policy.
Important as they are, this does not rule out my previous assertion: market policies continue to be the backbone of Community supranational integration. This point has already been developed in the previous section, and it is not necessary to add more here to what has already been said.
In the second place, when I characterise this scenario as a freezing of the current EU situation what I am essentially saying is that the EU is reformed in the next 10 years. From a substantive perspective, the bottom line that would characterise this scenario would be that the current equilibrium between supranational and intergovernmental features plus variable geometries would be kept from here to This said, it must be clarified that I do not include in this picture a total and absolute EU paralysis, as if the EU had become quadriplegic.
We could have more policies managed through variable geometries, or even new policies developed through the ordinary Community method. It is important to mention at this point the current process of Treaty reform that the EU is now undertaking. Two considerations can be made regarding this new reform. And secondly, even if the Reform Treaty goes ahead, it is not very risky to forecast that the ratification process will take a long time.
The reform or reforms of the EU Treaties would have two main traits. This would happen through two ways: either because parts of the intergovernmental pillars would be communitarised, or because new competences would be attributed to the EU. A mix of both would also be conceivable under this scenario.
The enlargement of the supranational features of the EU would take place in a very incremental way. El objetivo del presente consiste en contribuir al debate sobre el futuro de Europa promovido por esta iniciativa del Consejo. Este tipo de cuestiones son las que pretende dilucidar el presente documento. Hacer ejercicios de este tipo nos resulta ahora familiar en la UE.
A efectos de abordar el asunto del futuro de la UE, el presente documento se divide en dos partes. El segundo ejercicio consiste principalmente en comentar las variables que inciden sobre la probabilidad de que se verifiquen tales escenarios. Esto no significa que dichos Tratados sean inmortales. De hecho, en ocasiones, las partes que los suscriben ponen fin a los mismos. No obstante, puede que esta concurrencia de voluntades no tenga lugar. En segundo lugar, encontramos casos de cooperaciones reforzadas.
En segundo lugar, encierra un aspecto institucional. Con respecto a esta reforma, pueden plantearse dos observaciones. The concept itself is so multi-faceted and complex that intuitive approaches typically turn out to be incomplete, if not simply wrong-headed. A counterintuitive reading on energy issues is more often than not the most accurate, or at least the most revealing. But Hitler delayed, convinced that the priority should be the oil fields of the Caucasus and Baku — for him, the life-blood of the war and the future of the Reich. By the time he changed his mind, however, valuable time had been lost, and his forces were stopped just outside of Moscow by fresh Soviet troops and the onset of winter.
But rather than persisting with another attempt to chop off the Soviet head, in the Spring he headed south instead, throwing all available manpower and resources into a new operation to seize Baku. This monumental effort bogged down in the Caucasus mountains and never succeeded in anything but leaving the Sixth Army stranded just to the north at Stalingrad.
Convinced by his intuitive reckoning that the top priority had to be control over the oil fields of Baku, Hitler undermined the strategic viability of much of his forces on the Eastern Front. He paid dearly at Stalingrad for his intuition — which ultimately distorted his strategic view of German prospects in Russia - that he had to control the oil. The rest, of course, is history.
Intuition also tells us that it was Persian Gulf members of OPEC who wanted much higher prices in , to the detriment of the world economy. However, as Sheikh Zaki Yamani has told the world for years, it might well have been Henry Kissinger who convinced the Saudis and the Iranians to increase their prices, by making the counterintuitive case that higher oil prices would not necessarily be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and therefore not something that the US government would refuse to tolerate.
Even in the face of the inevitable dismay of consumers and the certain damage to the advanced economies that higher prices would provoke, Kissinger would have been hoping that a dramatic price spike would stimulate non-OPEC production a development that actually occurred. A boom in oil production in the North Sea, Mexico, Alaska and elsewhere, in turn, might ultimately undermine the pricing power of the cartel something which also occurred , if not the cartel itself.
Kissinger may have lost some of his shadowy covert battles over the years, but this — potentially one of the most daring diplomatic moves in modern history - would not have been one of them.
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The history of energy security, both in real world politics and in think tank discussions, is littered with a trail of such intuitive fallacies and failures. Faces and Facets of Energy Security The standard, and overused, definition claims that energy security is a state of affairs that provides for secure — or reasonably guaranteed — flows of energy to consumers at reasonable prices. Unfortunately, this definition is so vague and incomplete as to be basically useless in any serious discussion of energy economics or geopolitics. Perhaps the only positive thing that could be said of this definition is that while it is almost always mentioned at the beginning of such debates, it is almost always quickly abandoned, at right about this point in the discussion.
The energy terrain must be profoundly dissected and pondered if anything useful is to come of a discussion of energy security. For consumers this issue with only few exceptions basically boils down to price and the perception that price will not experience increases which are economically painful.
For producers, the issue boils down to income, and the perceived need for revenues to be maintained at sufficient levels to pursue serious, long-term economic development or, in a less than optimum scenario, for elites to capture their rents. For better or for worse, these two perspectives are linked.
Excessively low prices stimulate consumption and growth in consumer economies, but they undermine the potential for revenue-driven economic development in producer economies.
Furthermore, low prices also limit the incentive for investment in future output in producer countries, setting the stage for much higher prices in the future — unless low prices become the door through which international private oil companies IOCs gain cheap access to the vast reserves of producer countries.
However, such a development has often created a perception on the part of producer countries that their economic and political sovereignty is being compromised, provoking various manifestations of energy nationalism which often augur higher prices in the future. Higher prices, on the other hand, tend to have harmful effects both on perceptions and real economic activity in consumer countries, boding dangerously for producer country revenues if demand collapses as a result.
Furthermore, high prices can stimulate investment in future output, with moderating effects on prices in the middle run, but they often provide the incentive for the resurgence of energy nationalism which, more often than not, limits the rate of investment in new output over the long run.
This equation is complicated even more by the fact that we cannot so readily assume that all consumer countries will always be price doves, or that all producer countries will always be price hawks. Europe, meanwhile, has learned to live with high oil prices its consumers typically pay two to three times what Americans pay for gasoline and diesel — or more -- and its consumption growth has flattened out as a result. In fact, Europe is much more preoccupied with the reliability of Russian gas flows, as opposed to prices for oil or gas.
Iran was first a price dove under the Shah, then a price hawk under the Ayatollahs, and now an increasingly irrelevant voice in the OPEC debate given its sanctions-imposed capacity limitations and its need to import gasoline. Algeria and Libya have waxed and waned over the years on the price issue. Only Venezuela has been a consistent price hawk and, until recently, with severe short-term capacity constraints of its own to deal with, a consistent quota cheater.
Even Russia cannot be accused of price gouging: its recent, brief gas cut-offs to neighbours have been part of a negotiation context in which Russia has hoped to eliminate at least some of the large subsidies which it still provides on gas exports to its former brother Republics from the defunct Soviet Union. A large part of the energy security debate revolves around fossil fuels. Therefore, energy security, what ever it might really mean, is inextricably bound up with the production and consumption of fossil fuels, particularly oil and gas, which are the main internationally traded energy sources and which make up over half of the world energy mix coal tends to be consumed in the country of production.
One could argue that electricity issues are even more relevant than a merely hydrocarbon-centred discussion of the issue, given that electricity is much more important to the foundation of the economy; that is to say, in homes and in government and business office buildings around the world. While transportation to work and movement of merchandise are important, if the power goes off, it does not really matter whether we are able to leave the house or get to work.
Furthermore, electricity is certainly the most important energy security concern of the 1. However, there is at least one other relevant angle in the energy security story — the insecurity that may well come if the world fails to displace fossil fuels from their dominant role in the energy economy. Energy Security and the Energy Supply Chain Any complete discussion of energy security must address all of these angles.
To facilitate such an analysis, it would be useful to address the energy security terrain through the prism of the energy supply chain, including the upstream, midstream and downstream. In the upstream of both oil and gas production — at the geographic source of reserves and production - there are a number of concerns.
The well-known radical point of view sees the peak approaching fast, with record high prices one of the tell-tale signs.
This point of view claims that peak theories factor in only conventional oil, ignore the economic viability of unconventional or more difficult and expensive oil in offshore regions or the Arctic zones as prices rise, and simply deny the capacity of technology to increase recovery rates of oil fields, which traditionally have been only 30 percent of oil in place. Nevertheless, the debate over peak oil, as it is typically framed, is probably irrelevant, however counterintuitive such a conclusion might sound. It is not just that some oil will inevitably be left in the ground, whatever happens, because it will never likely be economically or technically feasible to extract.
More to the point: demand for oil itself is likely to peak long before any hard geological limitations impose a technical peak on production. To date, this geographic arc is one of the black holes of liberal market democracy and a major stumbling block for globalization. While Canada may be a model of stability and democracy, development of its tar sands would emit five times more carbon dioxide that conventional oils pumped from the traditional zones of the Middle East. Venezuela, on the other hand, is a metaphorical powder keg, at least for the moment. The concentration of hydrocarbon reserves in problematic zones beyond the OECD presents a number of challenges to what is traditionally understood as energy security.
As perceptions of globalization have soured in many parts of the non-Asian, non-OECD world, and as prices have skyrocketed in recent years, energy nationalism is on the rise again for the first time since the s and has taken root in new areas.