Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Economic and environmental politics: complementary or conflicting dynamics of EU policy-making?


RaumIhnestr. 22, 22/UG2
Mo 18.00-20.00

This course aims at introducing into the specific features of policy-making in the EU by drawing on two specific policy areas: economic policy and environmental policy. The overall theme of this course is to explore the multi-faceted relationship between these policy areas in the European Union. In the light of the ongoing debates on climate change, both economy and environment are often considered to be intertwined policy areas, even though initially the regulatory purpose of the two policy areas was diametrically opposed. While economic policy aimed at liberalizing and creating a common market and was therefore classified as a typical example of "negative integration" (Scharpf 1999), environment policy was characterized as "positive integration", since it followed a logic of re-regulation by addressing market failures. The course is divided into four parts.

In order to analyse the characteristic features of economic and environmental policy, the first part draws on some key concepts and theories of policy analysis. The second part discusses the EU’s economic policy by focussing on the clash between tightly controlled monetary policy on the supranational level and expansionist economic policy in some European member states that has recently put the currency system under considerable pressure. It analyses why this is the case and how a breakdown might be circumvented. The third part of the course introduces the environmental policy of the EU as the most institutionalized form of collective action between nation‐states for facing environmental problems. We will examine how the EU addresses environmental problems by following the subsequent stages of the public policy cycle. Starting with agenda-setting and decision-making, we will analyze who the most important actors in formulating EEP goals and what their strategies are. What follows is an analysis of specific policy outputs. How does the EU respond to global warming? How effective is the European response to the loss of biodiversity? We will then examine how EEP is implemented by member states and to which extent countries respond differently to the EU’s solutions to environmental problems. The third part concludes by analyzing the role of the EU as an environmental international actor. The fourth part of the course will be devoted to comparing the two policy areas and reflect on whether we find complementary or conflicting dynamics between them. As a complementary feature of the course, a field trip to Brussels is envisaged in early June 2011.