INTERGOVERNMENTAL AND DOMESTIC FACTORS IN THE NEGOTIATION PROCESS ON RENEWABLE ENERGY SUPPORT SCHEMES
The adoption of the Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources was an important step for the successive contribution to the global Climate Change Regime as well as the diversification of energy supply, thus ensuring energy security and reducing dependence on external suppliers. However, although the Directive sets out legally binding targets for each Member State by 2020 as well as interim targets, it does not provide any legally binding instruments, i.e., renewable energy support scheme(s), to achieve the above-mentioned objectives. Since the overall EU target as well as national targets are fairly ambitious, it poses a question, why the Directive does not include specific legally binding instrument(s) for achieving these targets, whereas the so-called flexibility mechanisms, provided in the Directive, are limited only to non-obligatory cooperation between Member States. It is important to mention that, during the negotiation process on the Directive, the harmonization of Member States’ renewable energy policies through the EU-level mechanism of Guarantees of Origin was widely debated. Therefore, the intergovernmental negotiation on the Directive’s provisions on renewable energy support scheme which should allow Member States to achieve their national targets as well as the overall EU target shall be submitted as the object of this article, while the purpose is to analyze the case of negotiating the EU-level renewable energy support scheme and to investigate the intergovernmental factors such as asymmetrical bargaining power of Member States as well as specific domestic factors’ influence for the negotiation’s results, applying liberal intergovernmentalist approach as the theoretical framework for analysis. The main tasks of the article are: __ to introduce the basic provisions of liberal intergovernmentalism and to formulate principal theoretical assumptions for further empirical analysis; __ to present a compact overview of the support schemes for renewables, applied in the EU; __ to define the role of the European Commission in the negotiation process, to determine the positions of the Member States on a common support scheme for renewable energy, to analyze the process of interest bargaining through coalition-forming and to detect the essential results of the negotiation. The main methods applied in this article include an analysis of the documents and the Member States’ position papers, conducting a case study of the negotiation process on the mechanism of Guarantees of Origin as the common EU-wide support scheme for renewables in the Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources. The article consists of three parts. The basic provisions of liberal intergovernmentalism as well as 35 European Integration Studies 2015/9 the principal theoretical assumptions are examined in the first part of the article as the theoretical framework for further empirical analysis. Renewable energy support schemes, applied in the EU, are presented in the second part and the case study of the intergovernmental negotiation on the pan-European support scheme for renewables based on the mechanism of Guarantees of Origin is carried out in the third part. The findings show that the majority of the Member States demonstrated strong opposition to the European Commission’s proposal for harmonizing their renewable energy policies through specific pan-European support scheme, i.e., the mechanism of Guarantees of Origin. The Commission’s initiative was rejected by posing an argument that the instruments for reaching the renewable energy targets must be selected according to the principal of subsidiarity with respect to each Member State’s national specifics as only under these circumstances renewable energy support schemes could function in the most sufficient and effective manner. Therefore, the Commission‘s initial proposal had to be significantly modified thus abandoning the idea of the EU-level support scheme for renewables. The findings also verify theoretical assumptions based on liberal intergovernmentalism which postulate that the negotiation’s results mainly depend on asymmetric bargaining power and the most powerful Member States’ preferences determined by their national specifics, support schemes and other domestic factors.