Negotiating the EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework: agendas, ideas and European interest groups
Fitch-Roy, Oscar William Frederick
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
In 2014, European heads of state selected new targets for the EU as part of the 2030 climate and energy framework. The targets will guide the ambition and nature of EU policy in this area until 2030 and are likely to have important implications for Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy. The decision taken by the European Council was preceded by several years of vigorous interaction between interest groups, the European Commission and the member states. The outcome of this interaction set the agenda for EU climate and energy policy but the role of interest groups in climate and energy policy, especially relative to important economic ideas, is relatively under researched. By augmenting and applying the multiple streams approach developed by John Kingdon in the 1980s and using process-tracing techniques, this thesis contributes a detailed case study of this important instance of European interest representation. It is found that the complex and dynamic political context for the interaction made planning and executing advocacy campaigns challenging for all actors. The debate about the 2030 framework is shown to hinge on the idea of technology-neutrality and its status on the policymaking agenda. A number of policy coalitions are observed with a wide range of characteristics, some novel. Several attempts at ‘policy entrepreneurship’ by interest groups are recorded but most were disrupted by the confused and fast-changing political situation. It is shown that a combination of spill-over between policy windows, framing and coalition building activity served to push the idea of technology neutrality up the agenda. The multiple streams approach is shown to be broadly applicable to the research context and aims but greater agency over policy windows than originally assumed must be granted to actors and the possibility for successful policy entrepreneurship to yield unintended policy outcomes allowed for.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Doctor of Philosophy in Geography