Max Münchmeyer presented his PhD project
Max Münchmeyer, a PhD researcher at the Department of Law at the European University Institute in Florence, presented parts of his PhD project to the research group on 11 November.
Max has a Bachelor's degree (LLB) in Law and Political Science from Trinity College Dublin, an LLM in European law from the London School of Economics and Political Science themed "Climate Change, Renewable Energy, and Self-Determination in the European Union", and an LLM in comparative, European and international law from the European University Institute. In addition, he has previously worked as a researcher for energy and climate policy at the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin.
He is currently pursuing a doctorate at the European University Institute in Florence, and his thesis is entitled "The Making of the Energy Union: The Evolution of Legitimacy and Energy Sovereignty in the EU". On this occasion, he presented parts of his research to the research group in a hybrid seminar on 11 November.
The theme of the presentation was "Solidarity in the European Energy Union". More specifically, he spoke of the groundbreaking judgement Case C-848/19 P – Germany v Poland, where the European Court of Justice confirmed for the first time that the principle of energy solidarity as stated in Article 194 TFEU is not only a mere political and procedural guideline, but a binding and justiciable principle of the European Union primary law that entails rights and obligations for both the EU and the Member States.
In other words, the European Union has a duty of solidarity towards the Member States at a vertical level, and the Member States have a duty of solidarity towards each other and the European Union at a horizontal level. The question Max raised for discussion in the research group was whether solidarity will be seized by the European Commission to demand greater conformity of national energy policy choices with pan-European decarbonisation targets, or whether Member States that are reluctant to decarbonise will operationalise the principle of energy solidarity to insist on less onerous emissions reductions obligations, a move which could prove detrimental to the success of "the European Green Deal."