Green Power Denmark - How a Small Member State used its Presidency to make the EU greener

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This thesis investigates how Denmark, as a small Member State, was able to use its 2012 Presidency to exert significant influence and further its interests via the Energy Efficiency Directive. Denmark’s influence is puzzling for three reasons: Firstly, it goes against the literature’s expectations of a small Member State Presidency, which is supposed to work as an impartial chair. Secondly, energy policy has historically been a sensitive policy area, which has only integrated in a very limited manner and only very recently. Thirdly the Danish influence was significant in scope, especially considering the reluctance among big Member States such as Germany. This thesis finds that Denmark succeeded, because it prioritized its Presidency according to viable coalitions, its own policy expertise, domestic coherence and cooperation with non-state actors. By doing so, Denmark was able to further its interests, while claiming to work for the ‘common good’ of the EU. That conclusion is based on an analysis that combines interviews with politicians and civil servants with concepts from various theoretical frameworks based on the work of inter alia Elgström, Panke, Tallberg, Strömvik and Putnam. In addition to solving the puzzle related to the Danish Presidency, this thesis provides a ‘Presidency Toolbox’ for small Member States to help them decide, what policies to focus on throughout their Presidencies.

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