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Building the EU’s agenda in energy policy making

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It is the principal objective of this course to provide insights into the shaping of the European Union’s (EU) political agenda on energy issues. This research focus is promising for several reasons. First of all, political attention to social problems is scarce and yet also consequential. Policy makers are constantly confronted with resource constraints, which prevent them from addressing the practically infinite number of social problems. Therefore, only a small share of the entirety of social problems is given political attention and end up on the political agenda. However, without making it to the political agenda, a social problem cannot be addressed, which indicates why this step is consequential for the subsequent policy-making process. As a result and as acknowledged by the literature, agenda shaping represents an important source of political power. This course will make an attempt to explain various forms of agenda-shaping efforts in a comprehensive manner by concentrating on energy policy.

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Building the EU’s agenda in energy policy making

  1. 1. Energy Policy Making in the EU Building the Agenda Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Institute of Political Science Heidelberg University
  2. 2. http://www.thehagueonline.com/userfiles/8206453462_4ab49c662f_z.jpg http://www.kohlekraftwerke.de/bildergalerien/grosskraftwerk-mannheim.html
  3. 3. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun 1. Introduction 1. Concepts 2. Agenda-shaping in the EU 3. The Field of Energy Policy 4. Research Questions 2. Development of EU Energy Policy 3. EU Politics 4. Energy Policy Making in the EU 5. Findings 6. Conclusion Structure
  4. 4. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Concepts • Political Agenda refers to “the set of issues that are the subject of decision making and debate within a given political system at any one time” (Baumgartner 2001: 288) − The number of social problems is practically infinite − Policy-makers have resource constraints − Political attention to social problems is scarce and yet consequential (Green-Pedersen/Walgrave 2014: 6) 1. Introduction
  5. 5. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Concepts The political agenda can be differentiated into two types: − Discussion agenda: all kinds of issues debated in society, usually consisting of rather broad concepts and ideas − Decision agenda: usually well defined issues that are up for serious consideration by decision makers, some being encompassing and some referring to technical details • The decision agenda is motivated and influenced by the discussion agenda, but also constrained by existing agendas 1. Introduction
  6. 6. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun 1. Introduction A B D E F G … Universe of problems A F G Problems that receive attention DISCUSSION AGENDA A F Problems addressed by policy-makers DECISION AGENDA ? ?
  7. 7. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Concepts • Agenda shaping as “bottleneck” for subsequent policy-making: Without making it to the political agenda, a social problem cannot be addressed • Three forms of Agenda shaping (Tallberg 2003: 5): • Agenda setting: placing (new) issues on the political agenda (most easy to observe) • Agenda structuring: emphasising or de-emphasising issues already on the agenda • Agenda exclusion: active barring of issues from the political agenda 1. Introduction
  8. 8. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Agenda shaping in the EU • Selecting and placing issues on the agenda of the EU’s political system is challenging because further to gaining attention, national governments need to be convinced that an issue requires an EU-wide solution • Successful agenda-shaping refers to a process that culminates in the adoption of binding or non-binding rules by the EU legislative organs (i.e. Regulations, Directives, Decisions, Recommendations, Opinions) • Unsuccessful agenda-shaping refers to a process where no rules are adopted by the EU legislative organs 1. Introduction
  9. 9. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun 1. Introduction Agenda-shaping in the EU • Mediating role of epistemic communities, especially in uncertain decision- making environments • Absence of an immediate link between discussion agenda and decision agenda, due to the absence of an European public • Well documentation of both actions and non-actions, due to the need for legitimation
  10. 10. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun The Field of Energy Policy • Boundary-spanning policy field, including economic policy, environmental policy, security policy, more generally international relations, and social policy; therefore, the analysis provides many generalizable insights • Large number of actors, coming from different sectors ( variety of strategies) • Dynamic field, subject to intense public and political debate • Remarkable development in the EU, both internally and externally (e.g. through extension to non-member states with actions like the Energy Community) 1. Introduction
  11. 11. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Research Questions 1. When are energy issues likely to be placed on the political agenda of the European Union? 2. Which actors are influential in agenda shaping and what are their strategies? 3. When does agenda shaping lead to legislative action? 1. Introduction
  12. 12. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Security, Economy, Environment • 1960s: Supply crises lead the European Community to adopt legislation specifying the level of emergency oil stocks • 1980s-1990s: Emergence of a comprehensive body of rules addressing energy policy − The Single European Act (1987) sets off the liberalization of the EU energy market and the institutionalization of environmental policy − Treaty of the European Union (1992) − Adoption of three packages of Directives to liberalise the energy market in 1996, 2003 and 2007 2. Development of EU Energy Policy
  13. 13. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun • 2000s: Eastern enlargements (2004, 2007) increase energy security concerns (dependence on Russia); greater willingness of Member States to strengthen the Commission’s role in securing energy supply • 2000s: Increased concerns over climate change provide the environmental avenue with the most effective means for advancing energy policy at EU level • 2009: The Lisbon Treaty introduced for the first time an energy title to the EU’s treaty framework 2. Development of EU Energy Policy
  14. 14. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun • The political system of the EU is characterized by: − Horizontal and vertical power division − Multiple institutional access points • Agenda-shaping via the high-politics road (top-elites, decision-maker) or the low-politics road (bureaucrats) • The institutional setup of the EU is the reason why it is worth studying agenda-shaping processes 3. EU Politics
  15. 15. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun 15 3. EU Politics http://hum.port.ac.uk/europeanstudieshub/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/institutionrolesindecisionmaking_diagram-01.jpg
  16. 16. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun European Council • Became formalized in 2009 • Heads of the Member States • President of the European Council (Donald Tusk) • President of the European Commission (Jean-Claude Juncker) • High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (Art. 22(2), 30(1) TEU) (Federica Mogherini)  Agenda-setting power (high-politics route) 3. EU Politics
  17. 17. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Council of the European Union (“the Council”) • Governments of the Member States • Council Presidency (rotating; currently: Luxembourg) • Meets in ten different configurations (varying with the topic) • Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) • Working Parties  Agenda-setting and agenda-structuring power (low politics road) 3. EU Politics
  18. 18. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun European Parliament • Only EU organ legitimised by direct elections • President of the European Parliament: Martin Schulz • Agenda-shaping power increased with extension of co-decision powers, but this actor is mostly involved with decision making rather than agenda shaping (Burns 2012: 139)  Agenda-structuring power 3. EU Politics
  19. 19. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun European Court of Justice • Interpretation and enforcement of EU law • Actors such as interest groups address the Court of Justice strategically in order to obtain a ruling that will force other EU institutions to react Agenda-setting power 3. EU Politics
  20. 20. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun European Commission • 28 Commissioners, Directorates-General and Services • Responsibility to develop medium-term strategies (Art. 17 TEU) • Achieved more competencies in the course of time • The Commission can both issue and withdraw the proposals on which the Council depends to preside over Community legal acts • Acts on the request of the Council and the European Parliament  Agenda-setting and agenda-exclusion power 3. EU Politics
  21. 21. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun European Citizens‘ Initiative • EU citizens are able to request the Commission‘s legislation in an area through a petition carrying one million signatures • Failed initiative: “Suspend the 2009 EU Climate & Energy Package (excluding energy efficiency clauses) and further climate regulations until a climate agreement is signed by major CO2 emitters - China, USA, and India”  In principle, agenda-setting power 3. EU Politics
  22. 22. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun • The European Commission is the formal agenda-shaper among the EU institutions, being the only institution that has both agenda-setting and agenda-exclusion powers with regards to the EU‘s overall political agenda • Its agenda-shaping activities are co-determined by institutional rules and the preferences of the other players • It acts in ‘competitive cooperation’ (Bocquillon/Dobbels 2014) with the European Council 3. EU Politics – interim conclusion
  23. 23. Structure of the book • Part I: Patterns of Agenda Building and Legislative Activities • Part II: The Commission as Policy Entrepreneur • Part III: Influential Member States • Part IV: Framing and Reframing For the table of contents, please consult: 4. Energy Policy Making in the EU http://www.springer.com/us/book/978144 7166443#aboutAuthors
  24. 24. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Part I: Agenda-building and Legislative Activities • Attention to energy-related issues was initially limited but has been growing constantly ( webinar by Dr. Sophie Biesenbender) • EU energy policy is influenced by both regulatory legacies in political institutions and external events or factors • The EU shows the ability to place energy issues on the political agenda of third-party countries, depending also on the successful framing of its energy policies • The Goal to tackle climate change has helped a lot to bring new energy issues on the political agenda • Agenda-shaping is dominated by the European Commission and the European Council • Mentioning of energy-related issues in the European Council often leads to a policy process 5. Findings
  25. 25. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Part II: The Commission as Policy Entrepreneur • Energy market liberalization entered the EU’s political agenda because the Commission skilfully managed to frame energy matters as an integral part of competition policy, opening a window of opportunity • Not all agenda-shaping efforts by the Commission are successful, as observed with regards to the use of renewable energy sources and the development of a pan-European energy poverty policy • With regard to renewables, the Commission failed to manage two contradicting goals (low-carbon energy promotion vs. electricity sector liberalization) in a supranational strategy, trying to influence national policy decisions indirectly via state-aid guidelines instead 5. Findings
  26. 26. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Part III: Influential Member States • Individual EU Member States can act as agenda setters, depending on their ability to build on national consensus: − United Kingdom, with regard to the liberalization of the EU’s internal energy market − Germany, with regard to the promotion of renewable energy sources 5. Findings
  27. 27. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Part IV: Framing and Reframing • High impact of policy and issue images stresses the importance of framing strategies in agenda-shaping processes • This represents the main strategy of the European Commission • Example: the securitization of the third gas directive by Eastern European countries, transforming a competition issue into a foreign policy issue • Importance of framing increases in environments of risk and high scientific and technological uncertainty • Example: The European Council framed hydraulic fracturing more as an issue of energy security, while the European Parliament framed it as a health and environment issue 5. Findings
  28. 28. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun • In the last few years, energy issues did benefit from elevated levels of political attention, thus leading to an increased production of corresponding rules • EU energy policy has become more diverse and encompassing, now also including considerations about the affordability of energy • When are energy issues likely to be placed on the political agenda of the European Union? Framing and re-framing matters as well as interests in other policy areas (e.g. climate change or security policy) and the strategies adopted by the key players (most importantly the European Commission and the European Council) • Which actors are influential in agenda shaping and what are their strategies? European Commission, European Council and the member states • When does agenda shaping lead to legislative action? Framing and re- framing matters and so does support by the member states 6. Conclusions
  29. 29. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun When agenda shaping is successful, new energy projects are lauched… http://gdb.rferl.org/BD74709B-4105-41E6-AB80-97377F9D6ADE_mw1024_s_n.jpg
  30. 30. • Baumgartner, F. R., 2001. Agendas: Political. In Smelser, N. J. / Baltes, P. B. (Eds.). International encyclopedia of social and behavioral sciences: Political science (pp. 288– 290). New York: Elsevier. • Bocquillon, P., / Dobbels, M., 2014. An elephant on the 13th floor of the Berlaymont? European council and commission relations in legislative agenda setting. Journal of European Public Policy, 21(1), 20–38. • Burns, C., 2013. The European Parliament. In Jordan, A. / Adelle, C. (Eds.). Environmental policy in the EU: Actors, institutions and processes (pp. 132–151). London/New York: Routledge. • Green-Pedersen, C. / Walgrave, S., 2014. Political agenda setting: An approach to studying political systems. In Green-Pedersen, C. / Walgrave, S. (Eds.), Agenda setting, policies, and political systems: A comparative approach (pp. 1–18). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. • Tallberg, J., 2003. The agenda-shaping powers of the EU council presidency. Journal of European public policy, 10(1), 1–19. • Tosun, J. / Biesenbender, S. / Schulze, K.(Eds.), 2015. Energy Policy Making in the EU. Building the Agenda. Heidelberg: Springer. Institut für Politische Wissenschaft // Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun Literature
  31. 31. Thank you for your attention…I now look forward to the Q&A!!!

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