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“On track” or “probably not enough”? EU climate policies in Juncker’s first State of the European Union address

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speech juncker

Last Wednesday, Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his first State of the European Union (SOTEU) address. This speech – the longest since Barroso started yearly SOTEU back in 2010 – is a key agenda-setting moment for the Commission President, providing the opportunity to set out a personal vision on the major issues facing the European Union today. […]

Exploring the Impacts of Austerity on Environmental Policy

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Following the financial crisis of 2007/2008 and initial attempts to stimulate the economy through increased government spending, austerity has become a dominant narrative in many developed nations. Government spending has been significantly reduced in a number of European countries, as part of efforts to reduce both public deficits and debts. After several years of such […]

How Well Does Bottom-Up Climate Governance Work?

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The failure of the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference marked a shift in international climate governance. As the system of agreeing international emissions reductions targets and then negotiating individual country contribution towards that target proved increasingly unworkable, there has been a drive towards a much more bottom-up form of climate governance. In preparation for the Paris […]

Empowering the European Parliament: a greener, more European way out of the European crises?

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Of the four main European Institutions,[1] the European Parliament (EP) has most struggled to be heard on the recent crises affecting Europe (monetary, economic, social, environmental…).[2] At a time when the European project is at great risk, and when European leaders struggle to define a common European interest, it is perhaps time to turn to […]

The Finnish Climate Change Act – In Line with What Finland’s Public Wants?

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Figure 1. Responses to ‘I am concerned about climate change’

On 6 March 2015, the Finnish Parliament passed the Finnish Climate Change Act (FCCA), the first of its kind in Finland. Pro-environmental organisations and political parties generally heralded the act as a symbolic success, as it enshrines the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. However, the act has also been described […]

Ten Years after the French and Dutch ‘No’: How the Two Countries Reinvented their Relationship with Europe

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Hollande Sarkozy image

Ten years ago today, the French voted down the European Constitution Treaty, which was supposed to replace existing EU Treaties and institute key changes such as the appointment of a EU foreign minister. This was followed by an even stronger ‘No’ in the Netherlands three days later. These ‘No’ votes succeeded where the Danish 1992 […]

The rise of climate change on the European Union agenda: 1988-2011

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Figure 1. Council Attention to the Environment, By Subtopic, 1975-2012 (1,679 Total Mentions). Source: Alexandrova et al. 2014.

When the European Council – the institution that sets the European Union’s agenda on broad, strategic issues[1] – published its Declaration on the Environment on December 3, 1988, climate change was mentioned briefly and in passing.[2] In 2009, the year of the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen, the topic’s salience had risen dramatically. In […]

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