• Elias Mark
4. term, European Studies, Master (Master Programme)
The European Union has over the last decades widely been seen a forerunner in climate action, passing its cornerstone European Green Deal (EGD) strategy to achieve climate neutrality. However, the Union also has a track recording of deprioritising climate policies whenever it faces a new crisis, a trend that has only started to be reversed with the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, the war in Ukraine has moved the EU into crisis mode once again, leading to the question of whether this new crisis will return the Union to its old patterns of de-prioritising climate change. Despite some research having partially started to look into this dynamic, the war is a recent and still evolving situation, meaning there is a relative scarcity of academic literature around it. This paper attempts to contribute to filling this gap in the literature, guided by the research question: To what extent has the war in Ukraine impacted the prioritisation of combatting climate change in the European Green Deal?
After an introduction, the paper starts with a discussion of background and terminology, followed by a brief literature review. Subsequently, the paper explains its social constructivist ontology, places the research on the agenda-setting stage of the policy cycle and explains its main theories, the Multiple Streams Framework (MSF) and securitisation theory. Methodologically, this paper treats the war in Ukraine as a potential window of opportunity and compares how the European Commission as a policy entrepreneur prioritises the combatting of climate change in the EGD before the war to after the beginning of the war, to see whether there has been a significant change.
The prioritisation is measured by investigating the level of securitisation of climate change, as securitisation provides a convenient method to see whether all three streams of the MSF are combined, and an issue is put on top of the agenda. Using a framing analysis, the analysis investigates the original EGD document, the Commission’s strategy documents that are part of the EGD in the areas of energy and industry, and the State of the Union speeches from 2021 and 2022.
The subsequent comparison and discussion find that the war seems to have impacted the prioritisation of combatting climate change in the EGD negatively. The analysis finds that there was no significant change in the securitisation of climate change in industry policy, and in the energy policy and state of the union speeches, the securitisation of climate change was found to be linked to the securitisation of the war in Ukraine. This means that while the Commission seems to still be prioritising measures leading to decarbonisation, it seems to now be done out of a motivation to combat the effects of the war, not climate change.
Publication date2023
ID: 532084329