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Legislating on car emissions: What drives standards in EU environmental policy?

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  • Deters, Henning
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    Abstract

    The working paper examines the decision-making process of what has most likely been the most contentious European environmental policy-item in 2009: the regulation 443/2009 setting carbon dioxide emission performance standards for new passenger cars. In contrast to the empirical trend of rather stringent protection levels, where environmental front-runner countries, encouraged by the Commission and the European Parliament, are able to set the pace, the regulation in question was largely shaped by the most reluctant member state's Germany with its high-volume, premium car manufacturers.By process-tracing the legislative decision-making, the paper accounts for this lowest-common-denominator outcome. Commission and EP had 'greener' preferences than the Council. Yet, both actors suffered from a of lack internal consistency, with national differences leading to strong in-fights between Commissioners and limiting the voting coherence of EP party-groups. The issue was therefore already highly politicized at the agenda-setting stage. This, and the fact that the dossier was handled in a fast-track procedure, curtailed Commission influence. In the Council negotiations, Germany was able to muster a potential blocking minority together with those, mostly east-European countries, were subsidiaries of German car companies are located. 'Greener' member states were, however, not prepared to veto down the regulation although they criticized its lack of ambition. -- Dieses Arbeitspapier untersucht den Entscheidungsprozess eines der am stärksten umstrittenen Gegenstände europäischer Umweltpolitik der vergangenen Jahre: Die Verordnung 443/2009 zur Verringerung der CO2-Emissionen von Personenkraftwagen. Im Gegensatz zu dem empirischen Trend eher strenger Schutzniveaus, bei dem die umweltpolitischen Spitzenreiter, unterstützt von Kommission und Europäischem Parlament (EP), die Leitlinien vorgeben, war die hier untersuchte Verordnung stark von den Vorstellungen des am wenigsten ambitionierten Mitgliedstaates geprägt, in diesem Fall Deutschland, mit seiner volkswirtschaftlich bedeutsamen und stark am Premium-Markt orientierten Automobilindustrie. Das Papier führt eine Prozessanalyse der Politikformulierung durch, um dieses Ergebnis aufzuklären. Obwohl Kommission und EP tatsächlich eine ambitionierte Verordnung befürworteten, konnten sie sich im interinstitutionellen Entscheidungsprozess letztlich nicht durchsetzen. Beide Akteure litten unter der geringen internen Kohärenz ihrer Positionen. Die nationalen Positionsunterschiede führten zu intensiven Konflikten zwischen den involvierten Generaldirektionen auf der einen, und schwacher Parteigruppendisziplin auf der anderen Seite. In den Ratsverhandlungen vermochte Deutschland gemeinsam mit den vorwiegend osteuropäischen Ländern, in denen Tochtergesellschaften und Produktionspartner deutscher Automobilhersteller ansässig sind, eine potentielle Sperrminorität herzustellen. Die 'grüneren' Mitgliedstaaten waren hingegen nicht bereit, die Verordnung abzulehnen, obwohl sie deren Anspruchsniveau als zu gering kritisierten. Der intensive Verteilungskonflikt im Lager der Automobilherstellerländer konnte mittels einer raffinierten Regelung zur Lastenteilung gemindert werden, machte aber dennoch eine Entscheidung auf höchster politischer Ebene notwendig.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State in its series TranState Working Papers with number 142.

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    Date of creation: 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb597:142

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