Brexit will have serious consequences for British energy policy and could lead to the UK becoming more independent in terms of energy policy.
We look at Brexit and energy policy from a legal and historical perspective.
History is a guide to the future, for the simple fact that decisions determine outcomes and humans make these decisions
The history of a nation gives us some idea how the people of that nation will behave in the future, how they will behave in relation to allied countries and countries that deviate from the usual conventions of that nation, judicial framework and the understanding of legal and social norms.
In this specific case, Britain’s own understanding of legal norms and the view of the British Government with regard to the forthcoming Brexit differ from the European Union’s legal understanding.
Since Great Britain’s legal standards are based on an Anglo-Saxon law codes, but the EU’s understanding based on Roman law, inconsistencies and misunderstandings arise. In order to avoid these misunderstandings, however, one needs a great deal of sensitivity and a sense for the imperfect, and a perfect alignment of the legal systems is not possible.
It also follows that the proposals on the Brexit Treaty are not perceived the same way. The word ‘treaty’, for example, is perceived differently by the parties to the treaty, which is perfectly demonstrated by the fact that the word ‘treaty’ has a different meaning for the British Government than it does for the European Union, because of the legal traditions which have prevailed in the respective territory.
In the British legal tradition, in the context of state law and foreign affairs, one often speaks of provisions. Provisions are a form of security arrangement between two parties. Think of the Provisions of Oxford. In Britain contracting parties sign agreements, both parties agree on a specific, factual agree-ment, which is in need / open to interpretation after the Parties have reached a conclusion and can later be renegotiated.
By necessity the European Union applies Roman law, because the different legal systems of the member states are not compatible with one another. Almost all legal systems of the member states of the European Union are based on Roman law, as this has become established norm in continental Europe.
Differences in the legal system may lead to different outcomes in energy policy-making
In terms of overall energy policy, Great Britain refers to parliamentary acts, where the legal framework is further developed or enhanced through various acts. The legal basis and norms is improved upon, since Great Britain is a sovereign state. The EU is not sovereign, and makes recommendations on the basis of various EU guidelines agreed by the member states.
It is up to each individual country to implement these measures or recommendations and adopt them. In doing so, the EU is following Roman law. Over time, the two legal systems will therefore diverge more with regard to energy regulation and energy policy.
Over time, it will become increasingly difficult to establish cross-border electricity trade with Great Britain. Energy policy will diverge further with every passing year.