|This article seeks to explain why EC Members in 1990 delegated competences in the coordination of TACIS – a technical assistance programme with energy related aspects for the former Soviet Union – to the Commission, and to determine whether this institution succeeded in exerting an independent influence on the course of the EU’s external energy policy in the following years. Three sets of mechanisms will be used as causal variables to explain the institutional independence: Path Dependence and Unintended Consequences; Formal and Informal Agenda Setting; and Fuzzy Legal Boundaries and Task Expansion. It can be demonstrated that not only in the beginning but throughout the 1990s the Commission can be depicted as a pro-active policy entrepreneur. It has utilized institutional rules to take the initiative, redefined the energy sector in relation to foreign and security policy, and thereby has managed to increase its competences and to shape the EU’s external energy policy over time.
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