Green Recovery: Catalyst for an Enhanced Role of the EU in Climate and Energy Policy?

Rainer Quitzow, Germán Bersalli, Johan Lilliestam and Andrea Prontera

Link to full paper

This is a draft chapter. The final version will be available in: Handbook on European Union Climate Change Policy and Politics, edited by Tim Rayner, Kacper Szulecki, Andrew Jordan and Sebastian Oberthür, forthcoming 2022, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

from the Introduction:

Economic crises offer a window of opportunity for transformational change. Periods of crisis may act also as catalysts for institutional changes. The actual or perceived need for state intervention during times of crisis may provide government and regulatory bodies with new and enhanced powers to intervene and shape economic development pathways. In the wake of both the global financial crisis and the economic crisis induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been widely suggested that governments should seize on these opportunities to pave the way for a green economic recovery (Hepburn et al., 2020).
In this chapter, the authors review how the European Union has fared in terms of enabling such a green recovery. Analytically, they distinguish between two broad dimensions: the direct effects of green stimulus policies on decarbonisation in the EU and the structural changes required for this, and how the measures taken in response to these crises have shaped the capacities of the Commission as an actor in the field of climate and energy policy. Focusing on these two dimensions, the chapter explores how the EC was able to utilise the windows of opportunity to launch a green recovery in the European Union following first the financial crisis in 2008/2009 and more recently the crisis induced by the pandemic. In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the European Green Deal, which included an ambitious European agenda for investments in climate-friendly technology and infrastructure, could be converted into a far-reaching green recovery effort.

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