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An evaluation of the impact of the European Parliament on environmental legislation Please do not quote from these slides without permission from authors.

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Presentation on theme: "An evaluation of the impact of the European Parliament on environmental legislation Please do not quote from these slides without permission from authors."— Presentation transcript:

1 An evaluation of the impact of the European Parliament on environmental legislation Please do not quote from these slides without permission from authors University of Bath, 6 October 2009 Dr Charlotte Burns (University of Leeds) Professor Neil Carter (University of York) Dr Nick Worsfold (University of York ) environmental-champion.php

2 Championing Europes Environment? The European Parliament often sees itself, and is seen by others, as the defender of environmental interests (Weale et al. 2000: 91) Sets the political agenda, forms coalitions and exploits political powers to full through amending and strengthening legislation. But portrayal based upon: (1) partial evidence and (2) historical record.

3 Research Questions Is EP REALLY an environmental champion? How environmentally stringent are its amendments? How successful are they? Is there a relationship between the strength of an amendment and its chance of adoption? Has the EPs behaviour changed over time? If so, how?

4 Methodology Analysed 5,234 amendments made to 94 proposals Legislation classified according to the stage at which it was concluded and the policy area that it addressed. Each amendment was classified according to –the reading at which it was proposed; –its environmental ambition; –its importance; –and the degree to which it was adopted by the Commission and Council of Ministers.

5 Environmental Ambition Typology Fivefold typology Based on ecological modernisation. Policy paradigm informing EU environmental policy

6 Environmental Ambition Typology Strong EM (3) – stronger, binding, sanctions, costs Weak EM (2) – tightens, some costs and new policy instruments Marginal (1) – rhetorical, vague, limited impacts and costs Neutral (0) – no environmental impact Negative (-1) – overall negative impact

7 Importance and Adoption Typologies Importance 1-5 from insignificant to highly important Multiplied with EA to give a score for overall environmental importance Adoption 0 = not adopted 1 = <50% adopted 2 = >50% adopted 3 = fully adopted M = text changed so amendment no longer relevant

8 Co-Decision Commission proposes EP 3 readings, conciliation and veto EP and Council = co-legislators Increasing pressure to agree at first reading or second reading Informal meetings used to reach agreement

9 Is the EP adopting environmentally important amendments ?

10 Strong Amendments

11 Is the EP adopting environmentally important amendments?

12 Is the EP Successful? OVERALL 40% rejected 11% partially adopted BUT 36% fully adopted 11% largely adopted


14 Success by Session

15 Evolving procedures Stage at which legislation was concluded EP5 (1999-2004) –47% cases concluded after conciliation EP6 (2004-2009) –23% cases concluded after conciliation, –46% concluded via fast track 1 st reading

16 What is fast track 1 st reading? Commission proposes legislation Legislative proposal goes to Environment Committee Committee adopts its opinion, which becomes the mandate for rapporteur to open informal negotiations with Council If agreement is reached the plenary endorses the joint text

17 Summary EP is trying to strengthen legislation Stronger amendments concentrated Success depends on strength of amendment, reading and session Differences between EP5 and EP6 – latter less ambitious but more successful

18 Explaining distribution of strong EP amendments Nature of policy – air and water attract stronger amendments New/updating legislation? New approaches to policy-making – framework directives

19 Why change over time? (1) Institutional EP has got its extra powers Commission – doing less, but doing it better Informal norms under codecision are evolving Personnel Changes

20 Why change over time? (2) Enlargement New states less developed. Focus on economic prosperity. Weak environmental movement. No green MEPs 2004-09. EU saw political centre of gravity shift to the Right and to the east

21 Why would enlargement make a difference? (cont.) EPP position consolidated and EPP regards environment as less salient Increasingly heterogeneous political groups affect distribution of positions of power. EP Groups still cohesive but some evidence of national blocks amongst new states.

22 Evolving Norms Why is the EP now prepared to engage in these practices? Pre 2004 - Preparation for enlargement. Post 2004 – established practice. New MEPs – care less about empowering the Parliament

23 Environmental behaviour Appointment of Ouzký On Climate Change legislation clear that there was pressure from new states Aviation – over half of those who voted against resolution were Poles/Czechs But RCV data ltd by new voting behaviour

24 Summary Enlargement has clearly led to the evolution and consolidation of norms within the EP. Perception in EP that balance of power has shifted – making EP less environmentally radical. Expect this trend to continue with current economic climate.

25 New parliament Buzek President of EP – committed to using fast- track procedure less. Changed dynamics on the Right. EPP did well but ECR split away. However, EPP no longer has to appoint R-W Czechs/Poles to key positions. Left weaker, but Jo Leinen (German SPD) new Chair of Env. Ctte.

26 Conclusions EP is an environmental tweaker rather than an environmental champion Economic context and political make- up of EP means that will continue.

27 Further reading…… See Burns and CarterIs Codecision Good for the Environment? Political Studies (published online) /projects/eu-environmental- champion.php

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