• Mikkel Hyldig Mosebo Christensen
4. semester, Europæiske Studier, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The European Parliament is often considered the “greenest” EU institution and a “champion” of the environment. In the beginning, the European Parliament only enjoyed a consultative role in the formulation of policy, and the European Commission, as the agenda-setter, was considered a more interesting lobby target for most interest groups. However, during the last 40 years, the European Parliament has gradually expanded its legislative power through various treaty changes, and environmental policy has become integrated formally as part of the EU treaties. This development has made it attractive for both environmental groups and industry groups to get access to and influence the European Parliament in environmental policy-making.

The objective of this study has been to examine whether the perceived image of the European Parliament as an environmental “champion” still fits the institution today. Based on qualitative interviews with key MEPs or Parliamentary Assistants and representatives from relevant industry and environmental groups in the context of two recent environmental case studies, I have searched for patterns and developed explanations to the behaviour of the European Parliament. To help me develop explanations, I have used a theoretical framework based on Logic of Access Theory by Pieter Bouwen and two perspectives on Resource Dependency by Jeffrey Pfeffer & Gerald R. Salancik and Rainer Eising.

My analysis has shown that the European Parliament is not to be considered an environmental “champion”. On the contrary, the adopted texts seemed to have been watered down from the Commission proposals. The main explanations for this are: first, it seemed that the MEPs granted more access to industry interests because they provided the demanded resources. Second, national position on the examined legislation seemed to have had a big influence on the voting of the MEPs. Third, since the 1999-election, the composition of the European Parliament has change from a centre-left to a centre-right balanced composition dominated by traditionally less environmental-friendly political groups. Lastly, with two almost equally influential committees, ENVI and ITRE, neither environmental nor industry interests were favoured. Rather, the adopted texts were compromises between opposing interests. Thus, even though the EP has become more powerful in the legislative procedure, this study has shown that the institution is not to be considered an environmental “champion” today.
Udgivelsesdato1 apr. 2014
ID: 196048893