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


  • Holzinger, Katharina


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Holzinger, Katharina, 1995. "The influence of the new member states on EU environmental policy-making: A game theoretical approach," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Standard-setting and Environment FS II 95-308, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbsse:fsii95308

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