Italian energy security, the Southern Gas Corridor and the new pipeline politics in Western Europe: from the partner state to the catalytic state

  • Andrea Prontera
Original Article


The establishment of the internal energy market and the development of the European Union’s (EU) external energy policy have challenged the longstanding politics of Western European energy security, particularly in the gas sector. The traditional institutional structure was based mainly on a combination of national politics and bilateral energy diplomacy, with a ‘national champion’ responsible for securing the supply of each country independently; this structure is currently under a process of transformation. The Italian gas sector provides a useful example to examine the emerging national and foreign politics of energy security in EU member states. The old pipeline politics and energy diplomacy of Italy are contrasted with the new strategy, exemplified by the government involvement in the development of the Southern Gas Corridor and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline. The model of the ‘catalytic state’ is shown to be the most appropriate model to describe the role of member states in the new institutional structure related to the security of the EU’s gas supply.


energy diplomacy energy security EU energy policy Italy pipeline Southern Gas Corridor 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Prontera
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political Science, Communication and International Relations, University of MacerataMacerataItaly

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