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The French energy transition: a case of Europeanization?

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  1. Introduction
  2. The EU, a policy driver for the energy transition
  3. Context of the energy transition debate: an ambivalent French energy policy towards the European Union
  4. Conclusion

Since the beginning of the European integration in the 1950s, the energy had always a peculiar place in the European project. The first energy source in Europe after the Second World War, coal, was the key to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951. The ?European fathers? estimated, in a the context of the Cold war to mutualise coal resources and needs between six countries (France, Germany, Italy and Benelux countries) in order to permit economic growth and industrial production in a spirit of cooperation and not in a spirit of competition. However several attempts of Jacques Delors, President of the European Commission between 1984 and 1995 to take example of the ECSC to create a true ?European Energy Community? (Fitoussi and others, 2007), this topic was not really at the top of the EU agenda before the energy-climate package of 2008. This agreement was a milestone, a worldwide novelty for energy-climate politics and policies (Massai, 2012). Energy, a policy at the core of national sovereignty, a high strategic matter for economic growth and prosperity was partially transferred at the EU level and last but not least by a strong will to input climate change actions in your energy supply production and consumption. There was at the same time an empowerment of the EU perspective and the need for a paradigm shift. This new paradigm is the basis of the energy transition (ET) concept. How to tackle this new concept? Sadly, nor the European Commission (EC), the International Energy Agency (IEA) or the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had found a consensual definition, however they are similar trends. For this research, we will take the definition (or the attempt of definition) made by the economist Alain Grandjean in January 2013 during the first phase of the French Energy Transition Debate (FETD).

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