Engaged but constrained. Assessing EU actorness in the case of Nord Stream 2

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Despite helpful categorizations about the EU’s role in external energy governance, more analysis is needed on the factors likely to enable or constrain the EU’s actorness. This article builds on the theoretical framework of actorness as a heuristic device to assess the extent to which its different components of opportunity, capability, and presence impact on the EU’s ability to be an actor in external energy governance. Looking at the case study of Nord Stream 2, the pipeline aiming to double the amount of energy transiting from Russia to Germany, the article argues that EU actorness depends on several constraining factors, such as the distribution of competence between the EU and its member states, the unwillingness of the latter to delegate competence to the former, and the existence of conflicting preferences across member states. The article applies a process-tracing method and builds on EU official documents, grey literature, and interview data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-835
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of European Integration
Issue number6
Early online date27 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2022


  • European Union
  • actorness
  • capability
  • energy governance


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