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An official delegation of the Parliament was also represented at the Copenhagen Climate Conference, before which the EP passed an ‘EU Strategy for the Copenhagen climate change conference’ in November 2011.

–  –  –

However, I also remember very well the extent to which the publication of the Stern report in 2006 (making an economic case for international action on climate change) and of the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 (demonstrating how severely climate change and global warming are progressing) pushed many MEPs further towards pledging for a strong EU commitment to climate policies and a global regime. Amongst other factors, this led to the establishment of the Temporary Committee on Climate Change (CLIM) in 2007, which was prepared under my Presidency. In the same year, an EP report even accused the Commission and the member states of ‘a serious dereliction of duty’ (Jordan and Rayner, 2010); the EP very actively attempted to sharpen the climate change and energy package that the Council adopted in 2008.

Furthermore, the final report of the CLIM formulated far-reaching aims for the EU regarding fighting climate change. And even though neither the report nor the Committee had legislative force, they contributed to making the EP’s opinion heard and to emphasising its role as cognitive leader.

As indicated earlier, it is above all this role that the EP has used so far to shape the EU’s climate change policy on the international level (see in this regard also EU parliament resolution, 2010). In this role, the EP continuously pushed for strong international and (external) EU action to combat climate change. While the Parliament co-legislates with member state governments on (internal) EU environment policy, the question arises to what extent the Lisbon Treaty's entry into force can give the Parliament an even more prominent legislative role. As it is the case in international trade policy, the EP’s consent is now required for international treaties; it remains to be seen how the Parliament will use this role in shaping an new international agreement on climate protection.

Conclusions The EU strives to be an active player in shaping globalisation and in providing global public goods.

Without doubt, it has the general potential to do so. The structural caveats, however, that hinder this intention and potential are well known and continuously jeopardise the Union’s role in shaping the global world. The challenge of the famously detected ‘capabilities-expectations gap’ (Hill, 1993) is as valid today as it was at the beginning of the 1990s. At the same time, however, the Union is an example for successful cooperation between sovereign states in multilateral regimes. Indeed, both the restraints and opportunities of the EU can be also detected to some extent in other efforts to establish multilateral governance settings for providing international public goods. And in this regard I agree with Pascal Lamy that the EU model can be used when looking for necessary elements of effective global governance.

In the complex multilevel governance setting of the Union that involves the various EU institutions and the member states, all them often having totally diverging interests, rhetoric and action are often too far apart. Studying the case of the EU’s engagement in international trade negotiations and climate policies allows for a good analysis of these settings and the extent to which they can hinder or enhance the Union’s performance as a global actor. To see how the multilevel governance system of the EU deals with the multifaceted challenge of climate change and the related multilevel international negotiations makes a very interesting case study (for a thorough analysis of the EU performance in the international climate negotiations and its ‘climate diplomacy’, see Van Schaik, 2010). The case of EU climate change policies also provides insight into how powerful EU decisions with international scope can be when the Commission, the Council and the EP work together with commitment – the case of the successful modelling and implementation of the ETS exemplarily demonstrates this. Furthermore, the establishment of an international regime to fight climate change poses various thorny collective action problems; it can be seen as example of such problems in the provision of global public goods more generally. Another factor that is interesting regarding the provision of other global public goods is the fact that EU climate policies have developed in close relation to the multilateral regime-building process.

The EU and the European Parliament in International Trade and Climate Change Negotiations More specifically, the crucial question now is whether the EU and the EP will still be able and willing to continue to drive forward action in the fight against climate change. The failure of Copenhagen in particular and the financial and economic crisis have taken away some enthusiasm in this regard. After the poor outcome and being side-lined in Copenhagen, the EU should regain leadership and credibility by ‘leading by example’ and by independent action. This would entail moving ahead with unconditional and independent action ahead of international agreements and with internal EU policies to make Europe the most climate friendly region in the world. Overall, I am convinced that the EU should strive for a low-carbon economy and energy system and for a general system change and green revolution. Policy-makers should even use the economic crisis as a chance to become leaders in an industrial and economic revolution. An industrial revolution and a low-carbon economy and society require an early deployment of new technologies and infrastructure and would allow the creation of a competitive edge for European companies in the key sectors of the future.

Without doubt, such a strategy requires huge political will and action; it will be costly in the shortterm. However, it would pay off in the long term and would allow the EU to be the key player in climate protection and hence in providing one of the most valuable global public goods of our times.

In doing so, the EU could fulfil its claim of promoting effective multilateralism and good global governance.

Finally, a few more general reflections and policy proposition are in place. The augmented authority and co-decision powers of the EP lead by definition to an increased politicization of the EU’s common commercial and climate change policies. Such a development is generally to be welcomed because it brings the EP closer to executing the tasks and functions of a ‘proper’ national parliament;

but it also bears some risks. As this contribution has demonstrated, the Parliament and the Union are in the two analysed policy areas - providing cognitive and general leadership. However, there is a risk that increased politicization endangers these capacities and Europe’s leadership potential. It is crucial to establish mechanisms and a particular consciousness to avoid that the increased politicization results in interest groups or political groups hindering the leadership efficiency or capturing the policy agenda (Cf. Kleimann, 2011, who refers in this respect to the risks of ‘regulatory capture’ in the US Congress’ trade and investment policy-making.). The strengthened role of the Parliament should not result in slowing down the pace or in damaging the continuity of the successful European trade and environmental policies. The best way to prevent this from happening is with a well-informed Parliament, political groups and MEPs that act responsibly and that put forward transparent policy proposals in these two areas, which are dominated by a multiplicity of powerful stakeholder interests.

In sum, the EP should use its new powers in a constructive and independent way, without overstretching its ambitions and without losing the sensitive EU institutional balance out of sight. I am confident that this will happen and that the enhanced politicization will have a positive impact on the further development of European trade and climate change policy.

The final policy recommendation is as banal and as old as the EU’s efforts as a global player, but it has not lost any of its relevance: only when the EU institutions and its member states avoid, or at least control, their usual turf battles and when they speak and act coherently, can they exert global leadership. To achieve this coherence remains the core challenge for the EU in being an influential global actor and in successfully providing interdependent public goods in a multilateral international setting. Overall, the Lisbon Treaty provides most of the instruments to act coherently. All that is needed is the political will and guidance to use these instruments in the right way.

Josep Borrell


EP delegation to Copenhagen (2008) [online]. Available from:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/climatechange/ (Accessed 12 October 2011).

EU parliament resolution - Outcome of the Copenhagen summit on climate change.

P7_TA(2010)0019 (2010) [online]. Available from:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=f%2fEP%2f%2fTEXT%2bTA%2bP7-TA-2010b0%2bDOC%2bXML%2bV0%2f%2fEN&language=EN (Accessed 11 May 2012).

Intervention of H.E. Mr. Herman Van Rompuy following his appointment as President of the Council of the European Union (2009) [online]. Available from: http://www.europa-euun.org/articles/en/article_9245_en.htm (Accessed 11 May 2012).

Asselt, H. V. (2010) 'Emission trading: the enthusiastic adoption of an ‘alien’ instrument?', in Andrew Jordan et al. (eds.) Climate Change Policy in the European Union: Confronting the Dilemmas of Mitigation and Adaptation? Cambridge University Press.

Burns, C. & Carter, N. (2010) 'The European Parliament and climate change. From symbolism to heroism and back again', in Rüdiger Wurzel & James Connelly (eds.) The European Union as a leader in international climate change politics. London: Routledge.

Desai, M. (2003) 'Public Goods: A Historical Perspective', in Inge Kaul et al. (eds.) Providing Global

Public Goods: Managing Globalization. Oxford University Press. [online]. Available from:

http://econpapers.repec.org/bookchap/oxpobooks/9780195157413.htm (Accessed 14 March 2012).

Giddens, A. (2009) The politics of climate change. Polity.

Hill, C. et al. (2011) 'EU Multilateralism: Rhetoric and Reality in the Context of Global Governance', in Miguel Poiares Maduro (ed.) An EU agenda for Global Governance. RSCAS Working Paper.

Florence: Robert Schuman Centre.

Hill, C. (1993) The capability-expectations gap, or conceptualizing Europe’s international role. JCMS:

Journal of Common Market Studies. 31 (3), 305–328.

Jordan, A. & Rayner, T. (2010) 'Emission trading: the enthusiastic adoption of an ‘alien’ instrument?', in Andrew Jordan et al. (eds.) Climate Change Policy in the European Union: Confronting the Dilemmas of Mitigation and Adaptation? Cambridge University Press.

Kaul, I. et al. (eds.) (2003) Providing Global Public Goods: Managing Globalization. Oxford

University Press. [online]. Available from:

http://econpapers.repec.org/bookchap/oxpobooks/9780195157413.htm (Accessed 14 March 2012).

Kelly, C. R. et al. (2010) 'Introduction', in Claire Roche Kelly et al. (eds.) The New Climate Policies of the European Union: Internal Legislation and Climate Diplomacy. Brussels: Vubpress.

Kleimann, D. (2011) Taking Stock; EU Common Commercial Policy in the Lisbon Era 345.

Lamy, P. (2012) 'Global governance, from theory to practice', in Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann (ed.) Multilevel Governance of Interdependent Public Goods: Theories, Rules and Institutions for the Central Policy Challenge in the 21st Century. In this volume.

Oberthür, S. & Pallemaerts, M. (2010) 'The EU’s Internal and External Climate Policies: an Historical

Overview', in Claire Roche Kelly et al. (eds.) The New Climate Policies of the European Union:

Internal Legislation and Climate Diplomacy. Brussels: Vubpress.

The EU and the European Parliament in International Trade and Climate Change Negotiations Saunier, R. E. & Meganck, R. A. (2009) 'Global Environmental Governance: An Essay', in Dictionary and introduction to global environmental governance. London: Sterling.

Van Schaik, L. (2010) The sustainability of the EU’s model for climate diplomacy. The new climate policies of the European Union: internal legislation and climate diplomacy. 15251.

Skjærstedt, J. B. & Wettestad, J. (2010) 'The EU Emissions Trading System Revised', in Claire Roche Kelly et al. (eds.) The New Climate Policies of the European Union: Internal Legislation and Climate Diplomacy. Brussels: Vubpress.

Stern, N. H. (2009) The global deal: climate change and the creation of a new era of progress and prosperity. Philadelphia: Public Affairs.

Svensson, L. (2008) Combating climate change: a transatlantic approach to common solutions.

Washington, D.C.: Center for Transatlantic Relations, The Johns Hopkins University.

TEU (2009) Treaty on European Union, OJ 2008, C 115/13.

Wurzel, R. & Connelly, J. (eds.) (2010) The European Union as Leader in International Climate Change Politics. London: Routledge.

–  –  –

Introduction The world is trapped in an ever-denser web of global crises. Financial instability, climate change, communicable diseases, illicit trade, international terrorism, natural resource scarcities, and threats from new technologies are, together with other emerging risks, joining entrenched problems like those of nuclear proliferation, geopolitical conflict, and – still – on-going unconscionable human deprivation. What is worse, many of these crises are allowed to linger and fester despite the high costs they entail.

The evidence suggests failures of global governance are occurring. This is not altogether surprising, given that many global issues possess the properties of public goods. They constitute global public goods (GPGs), meaning that they affect all countries or, haphazardly, anyone, anywhere.

According to standard economic theory public goods tend to be underprovided, because individual actors are tempted to free-ride. They may wait for others to step forward and provide the good, reckoning that when it becomes available, they, too, will benefit from it – free of charge.

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