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Acting green? Environmental Policy-making in the European Union

(15 364)

RaumIhnestr. 22 22/UG3

Mi. wö. 12.00-14.00

During the past fifty years, changes in economic activities, technology, communication and information systems have drawn the world's countries into a global community. This is particularly true with regard to environmental challenges such as global warming, a thinning ozone shield, contamination of water supplies and a loss of biodiversity which all require col-lective action. Many political scientists have thus investigated options for building strong and effective international institutions and establishing new forms of global governance for fac-ing these common problems.

By giving an introduction into the environmental policy of the European Union (EU), the course focuses on analysing the most institutionalized form of collective action between nation-states for facing environmental problems. The course will be divided into five parts which largely follow the subsequent stages of the public policy cycle. First, we will focus on analysing the specific characteristics of environmental policy vis-à-vis other policies; by putting special emphasis on why EU environmental policy (EEP) is a case worth to look at in that respect. Second, we will examine the stage of EEP policy-making. Who are the most important actors in formulating EEP goals? Which principles guide the EEP? How are environmental problems put on the policy agenda? The third part of the course will be dedicated to the analysis of specific policy outputs. How does the EU respond to global warming? What is its reaction to the deterioration of water quality? How effective is the European response to the loss of biodiversity? To which extent is EU legislation in certain environmental policies inspired by international legislation and vice versa? Fourth, we will consider the national level and examine how EEP is implemented by member states and to which extent countries respond differently to environmental problems. Who are the environmental leaders and laggards in Europe? Can we observe a Northern-Southern or even a Western-Eastern divide? What is the impact of differences in governmental structure, political cultures, and economic conditions in responding to EEP? In the last part of the course we will analyse the role of the EU as an environmental international actor and discuss future challenges for the EEP. Depending on the number of participants, a simulation of EU environmental negotiations is envisaged for the end of the term.