GOVTRAN is calling for panel and paper proposals to the section on EU Climate and Energy Policy in Turbulent Times at the 10th Biennial Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on the European Union (Rome, 3–6 June 2020).
In a crisis-ridden EU, climate and energy policy is often seen as a respite – an area that provides a positive agenda of which the EU is in short supply. For example, the EU is preparing its long-term strategy aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050 and reviewing its just-adopted 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework, as public mobilization for climate issues, such as the Youth for Climate movement, continues making headlines. However, these developments operate in a problematic and fragile context. Internally, the erosion of liberal democracy and the rise of right-wing populism endanger wide societal consensuses and diminish governments’ appetite for strong European and international institutions. Externally, the crisis of the liberal international order accentuates geopolitical thinking, economic competition and inward-looking policies, all of which undermine the trust and cooperative momentum needed for a global energy transition.
The goal of this Section is to examine how these wider tensions interact with EU climate and energy policy, including along the following dimensions:
- EU-Member State relations: The Governance Regulation for the Energy Union and climate action has established a delicate balance between working towards common goals and retaining national authority. Is the Regulation hardening governance or does it signify renationalization of EU climate and energy governance?
- State-Market relations: While the EU remains committed to completing the Single Energy Market, mechanisms for stronger state and EU public intervention are under development (including industrial policies, capacity mechanisms, screening of foreign investments). The extent of this public-private recalibration and its drivers warrant closer inspection.
- State/EU-Society relations: The transition to a low-carbon economy unfolds during times of crisis of representative democracy and rising climate scepticism in the wake of right-wing populism. To what extent does and can a more democratic and participatory climate and energy policy (citizens’ energy projects, participation in the development of national energy and climate plans, etc.) and approaches of a “just transition” help bridge these tensions?
- EU-Third country relations: In addition to the decarbonisation imperative, the EU is facing more competitive dynamics in regional and international energy governance, including from the One Belt, One Road Initiative. EU-sponsored regimes such as the Energy Community and the Energy Charter are undergoing a modernization process and Brexit is fostering debates on differentiated energy integration. This calls for a critical appraisal of the EU’s energy engagement with neighbouring areas and beyond, including in the light of decarbonisation.
We are looking forward to receiving your Panel and Paper proposals engaging with one or several of the above dimensions or related issues – deadline for submission is 16 December: https://ecpr.eu/Events/143.
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