The Beginnings of a European Environmental Conscience

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 134 (University of Glasgow)
Thomas Christian Hoerber , EU-Asia Institute, ESSCA-School of Managment
This research project argues that a European environmental conscience has developed through successive steps of European integration in energy policy.  By the 1970s, the whole world was slowly beginning to realise that environment degradation was not sustainable. European institutions incorporated both energy and environmental policies and built an institutional framework which could answer to the growing environmental conscience of the European peoples, better than any nation state. The oil crisis of 1973 will be the centre of this work, because it was the turning point in the integration process for both energy policy and environment policy, i.e. further integration towards the European energy policy failed; but environmental policies took concrete shape, e.g. energy saving.

On the basis of the presumption that there is a logical link between energy and environment policies at European level the following research questions will be asked. (1) Did energy policies and, later, environment policies drive the European integration process? (2) How did their relative importance in the integration process change over time? (3) How are energy and environment policies interlinked? (4) Why did a solution within the European institutional framework not work for coping with the oil crises of the 1970s? (5) What repercussions did that have for the European integration process and for the behaviour of national politicians responsible for energy security? (6) What motivations are there for a new and common EU energy policy? (7)What can be deduced from the Energy & Environment cases for European integration theory?