The EVALUATE project team has recently expanded to include Tomas Maltby – an energy politics researcher at the University of Manchester, whose work focuses on EU energy security policy, EU agenda-setting and new member states, EU-Russia energy relations and renewable energy policy. His recently submitted PhD analyses the extent to which three newer EU member states, Poland, Bulgaria and Latvia have attempted and succeeded in shaping the development of the EU’s energy security policy, focusing on natural gas. This explores the argument that EU membership affects the formation of national foreign and energy policy as well as procedures of policy-making, and that newer member states have also been able to shape EU level policy-making through the ‘uploading’ of national preferences.
A key finding is that impact of supply disruptions and price rises have affected perceptions and constructions of national and EU energy security, and argues that energy (in)security and energy crises are socially constructed. This affects the desire and ability to shape EU policy, and other important factors include the relative strength of administrative capacity, diplomatic skill and learning to ‘play the EU game’, the role of Russia (which can constrain and enable national policy), and involvement in sub-EU regional and strategic alliances.
The thesis also provides a study of the development of EU energy policy since the 1950s and the role of the European Commission, which has been published in Energy Policy. The research on Bulgaria has informed a publication in Geoforum on the role of intermediaries in national and EU energy policy (co-authored with Ralitsa Hiteva) and one forthcoming in Europe-Asia Studies on Bulgarian energy policy and the pressures of EU membership and Russian influence (which he has also blogged about).
Tomas has been a visiting researcher at the Institute for European Studies in Brussels, and an ESRC intern working on energy for the Scottish Government. Prior to studying at Manchester, Tomas completed his MA at the University of Sheffield, and BA at the University of Leicester.