Windows of Opportunity for Whom? Commissioners, Access, and the Balance of Interest in European Environmental Governance
1. Introduction: The Janus Face of the EU’s Environmental Performance
2. Business Power in a MSA Framework
3. Windows of Opportunity in the EU’s Fisheries and Climate Policy
Conflicts of Interest
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In the context of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, all states that are parties to the convention meet regularly at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to negotiate agreements and targets.
The process had been launched with a Green Paper, opening a period of consultation in 2009.
Of course, the outcome and impact of the reforms are yet to be determined. A range of factors, such as the member states’ continued authority over implementation, may well reduce the potential improvements in the sustainability of the European fisheries intended by the reform (Monteiro 2016; Salomon et al. 2014; Villasante et al. 2016). The present paper concentrates on the output of the policy process, however. Also, similar questions regarding outcome and impact exist with respect to the EU’s climate targets.
The European Commission is the core administrative organ of the European Union. Its tasks include the development of new legislative proposals and the overseeing of implementation processes. The Commission is composed of Directorates General (DGs), which each oversees and works on a specific field of expertise. In the context of the cases studied here, DG Energy (known as DG ENER) and DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (known as DG MARE), respectively, were the most active entities in the Commission.
Of course, an analysis of official documents and interviews provides only indirect evidence of certain dynamics, specifically the motivations and influence of actors and thus allows me to plausibilize rather than stringently test hypotheses. In the absence of a comprehensive and reliable documentation of all lobbying efforts (in volume, contents, and structural context), nothing else is possible. The question of interactions between politicians and/or bureaucrats and non-state actors and their implications is too crucial, however, for scholars to ignore.
Thus, the politics stream is characterized by bargaining and the policy stream by persuasion, according to Kingdon.
See, however, (Young 2012) argument that we need a more nuanced analysis of regulatory capture in global finance governance.
This shows that the subcomponents identified by the MSA model are not completely independent of each other as well, but are conceptualized that way for analytical purposes, only.
Officially: “The Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community”, signed, December 13, 2007, effective since December 1, 2009.
As pointed out above, the Commission has the task of developing proposals, in the EU’s policy process, which Council and, if the Co-Decision procedure applies, the EP then vote upon.
Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development.
Directorate General for Climate Action.
Interviewees highlighted that he repeatedly went to Brussels and Strasbourg to chair meetings and push for agreement (Engelkamp and Fuchs 2017).
Note, however, that public awareness of and concern about maritime issues tends to be below those for other environmental issues, across countries (Potts et al. 2016).
See also (Teffer 2014).
© 2017 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Fuchs, D. Windows of Opportunity for Whom? Commissioners, Access, and the Balance of Interest in European Environmental Governance. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 73. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6030073
Fuchs D. Windows of Opportunity for Whom? Commissioners, Access, and the Balance of Interest in European Environmental Governance. Social Sciences. 2017; 6(3):73. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6030073Chicago/Turabian Style
Fuchs, Doris. 2017. "Windows of Opportunity for Whom? Commissioners, Access, and the Balance of Interest in European Environmental Governance" Social Sciences 6, no. 3: 73. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6030073