The Franco-German Dialogue on Energy Geographies
Energy policy represents one of the central building blocks of European integration. Starting in 1951 with the European Coal and Steel Community, supported by six Western European countries, it has progressed to the Energy Union within the European Union since 2015, which is aimed at the independence of Europe’s energy supply. It is evident, however, that divergent positions continue to exist in Europe, as the heated debates on the development of the European taxonomy in 2021 and the question of European dependence on Russia – brought into focus in the wake of the Ukraine war in 2022 – show. At the same time, the member states of the European Union jointly agreed on the goal of becoming CO2-neutral by 2050 when they adopted the European Green Deal in 2020. There is, however, no consensus on the means, ways, and instruments to be used to achieve this goal. Thus, there is an “ambiguous consensus” regarding the “energy transition”. The Franco-German relationship is emblematic of this. Although the role of nuclear power generation appears to be the most obvious point of contention, France and Germany also pursue different paths to energy transition in other ways: the development of onshore and offshore wind power, the status of coal and gas, the source of energy raw materials, the centralised/decentralised orientation of energy markets, etc.
The two-part scientific event series for young scientists 2023-2024 addresses this exact issue. The objective is to link the “energy transitions” in France and Germany based on current research approaches and to promote cross-border scientific exchange. In order to break the current situation of mutual ‘speechlessness’, the workshops provide a forum for young German and French researchers to meet and engage in conversation in the context of spatial energy geography. Young researchers can thus build new networks for their further scientific development. In addition, young German and French doctoral and postdoctoral researchers with a proven track record in the energy context will be encouraged to work together. This will promote coherence in this field of research, the exchange of theories and methods used on both sides of the border, and the emergence of a common ‘culture’. Moreover, the workshops will contribute to advancing research on energy policies in Europe, particularly on Franco-German comparisons. Bringing together researchers from different fields will facilitate a case comparison that illustrates the spatial conditions of heterogeneity or homogeneity in energy transitions. There will be a special focus on negotiations related to nuclear power and renewable energy.