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Windows of Opportunity for Whom? Commissioners, Access, and the Balance of Interest in European Environmental Governance

Doris Fuchs ()
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Doris Fuchs: Center for Interdisciplinary Sustainability Research (ZIN), University of Muenster, Muenster 48151, Germany

Social Sciences, 2017, vol. 6, issue 3, 1-14

Abstract: The European Union’s ambition on environmental issues proves to be highly uneven. While it has agreed on stringent binding sustainability objectives in its reforms of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2013, it failed to reach such agreement on its 2030 climate change objectives at almost the same time. How can we make sense of this uneven performance of the European Union (EU) in environmental policy? The present article argues that integrating the multiple streams approach (MSA) with a focus on business power allows a better understanding of the divergence in the EU’s sustainability ambitions across policy fields. Based on this framework, it suggests that Commissioners can be highly influential policy entrepreneurs in the European governance process. Employing a content analysis of relevant documents from the two policy processes as well as interviews with representatives from political as well as non-state actors, the article depicts the suggested dynamics and deduces corresponding lessons for science and politics.

Keywords: MSA; business power; European Union; climate change; fisheries (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A B N P Y80 Z00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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