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The influence of the new member states on EU environmental policy-making: A game theoretical approach


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  • Holzinger, Katharina
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    In January 1995 Austria, Sweden, and Finland became member states of the European Union. All three countries have traditionally given comparatively high priority to environmental protection. This paper deals with the question of what influence the new members will have on environmental policy-making in the European Union. Two aspects must be considered: First, what influence could the new member states have on decisions taken by the Council of Ministers? Second, what relative weight does the Council of Ministers have in the three procedures applicable to environmental decision-making, provided for in the Maastricht Treaty? Game-theoretical analysis shows clearly that the accession of Austria, Sweden, and Finland has caused the balance within the Council of Ministers to shift a great deal in favour of the environmentally more progressive member states, since they can no longer be overruled when qualified majority voting applies. The constraints on forming majority coalitions will now lead to far greater emphasis on censensus among the larger member states in future negotiations with the Council. The European Parliament's newly gained power in the codecision procedure should benefit the environmental frontrunner states at least in the short term. Thus, the enlargement should be very welcome in the eyes of Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany. -- Im Januar 1995 traten Österreich, Schweden und Finnland der Europäischen Union bei. Alle drei Staaten betreiben traditionellerweise eine in Europa vergleichsweise fortschrittliche Umweltpolitik. Das vorliegende Papier befaßt sich mit der Frage, welchen Einfluß der Beitritt dieser drei Staaten auf die Umweltpolitik der Europäischen Union haben wird. Dabei müssen zwei Aspekte berücksichtigt werden, nämlich erstens die Frage, welchen Einfluß die neuen Mitgliedstaaten bei der Abstimmung im Ministerrat ausüben können, und zweitens das relative Gewicht, das dem Ministerrat im Vergleich zu den beiden anderen Organen der Gemeinschaft bei den drei nach dem Vertrag von Maastricht für die Umweltpolitik anzuwendenden Entscheidungsverfahren zukommt. Die spieltheoretische Analyse ergibt, daß durch die Norderweiterung die Balance der Mitgliedstaaten im Rat der Umweltminister erheblich zugunsten der umweltpolitischen Vorreiterstaaten verschoben wurde, da diese bei Anwendung der qualifizierten Mehrheit nun nicht mehr überstimmt werden können. Aufgrund der Mehrheitsverhältnisse werden die Verhandlungen im Rat in Zukunft wieder sehr viel stärker auf einen Konsens zwischen den großen Mitgliedstaaten ausgerichtet sein müssen. Die im Kodezisionsverfahren neu gewonnene Macht des Europäischen Parlaments dürfte (zumindest kurzfristig) den umweltpolitischen Vorreiterstaaten zugute kommen. In den Augen der bisherigen Vorreiter Dänemark, Niederlande und Deutschland ist die Norderweiterung daher sehr zu begrüßen.

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    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Standard-setting and Environment with number FS II 95-308.

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    Date of creation: 1995
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbsse:fsii95308

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