Energy poverty policies in the EU: A critical perspective
Once confined to the UK context – where it was struggling to receive political recognition for years – the concept of energy (or fuel) poverty is slowly entering the EU's agenda, where it has crept into a number of regulatory documents and policy proposals. Using evidence gathered from an international workshop and semi-structured interviews with decision-makers, experts and advocacy activists in Brussels and Sofia, this paper explores the adoption of policies aimed at addressing energy poverty within (i) the organisational context of the EU; and (ii) national state institutions in Bulgaria – a member state facing considerable problems at the energy affordability – social inequality nexus. While the former are largely nascent and poorly co-ordinated, the latter have already been implemented de jure to a significant extent. However, many unresolved issues surrounding their de facto implementation remain. At the same time, national policy makers remain largely unaware of the existence of direct energy poverty related initiatives at the EU level.