Multilevel ‘venue shopping’: The case of EU’s Renewables Directive
- First Online:
- 48 Downloads
Lobbying has traditionally been an enterprise of national interest organizations, which chiefly seek to influence national actors, especially governments. However, studies find that national interest organizations increasingly also target the European Union (EU). As the EU agenda has increased in depth and scope, interest organizations at national and EU political levels might be expected to align in coalitions in order to influence EU legislation. Such strategies potentially increase interest organizations’ political leverage significantly; despite that, lobbying coalitions consisting of organizations aligned to different political levels have been scantily studied in the literature on EU lobbying. Therefore, the first aim of the article is to illustrate a case where coalition lobbying is highly likely: the lobbying strategies employed by the interest organizations of Germany’s energy industries in the process leading up to the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive. These industries are represented by several organizations at both the national and the European level. The second aim of the article is an investigation into how the Renewables Directive came about, as the outcome has profound impact on power production and consumption, and future prospects for EUs mitigation of greenhouse gases. Large controversy was connected to the legal proscriptions of support mechanisms for enhancing renewable energy production in particular. Two of the organizations that would be the most severely affected by the Renewables Directive were the European utilities industry and renewables industry, together constituting all power producers and their affiliates in Europe. The utilities and renewables industries disagreed deeply on core issues, such as legislation on support mechanisms for expanding production of renewable energy in the EU. The utilities industry favored an EU-wide green certificate scheme, whereas the renewables industry pressed for national choice of support mechanisms. Because the stakes were high, both had large incentives to invest substantial resources into lobbying on this legislation. The third aim of the article is to discuss what such multilevel lobbying reveals about perceptions of where real decision-making power is located in the EU. Energy policy is traditionally a strong national domain, which makes the governance theory of liberal intergovernmentalism (LI) relevant to use. However, as the EU is increasingly expanding its legislation on energy issues, the multilevel governance theory (MLG) also might describe how interest organizations perceive power to be located when EU legislation is formulated.The results indicate that despite all lobbying that organizations targeted toward the German government, which played a key role in the negotiations, the observations of the lobbying behavior is still better described by MLG than LI; the limited leverage of LI is illustrated by three points. First, all the German interest organizations lobbied institutions at both the national and at the EU levels. Second, national and European interest organizations participated in informal multilevel political coalitions consisting of a broad church of actors, as regards the renewables industry in particular. By coordinating political positions, pooling resources and developing common strategies, the interest organizations probably increased their leverage substantially, not the least because these coalitions also were backed by governments in key member states and members of the European Parliament. Third, all the EU-level interest organizations lobbied both the core EU institutions and central national governments. Summing up, these findings suggest that multilevel strategies should be considered for inclusion in analyses of national and European-level interest organizations’ lobbying of EU legislation. The interest organizations themselves seem to see power as distributed across multiple levels of governance, and lobby accordingly. In order to grasp momentum of the lobbying process, it is moreover often probably relevant to assess coordination of strategies between interest organizations at different levels in complex multilevel advocacy coalitions. By demonstrating that all organizations covered, regardless of sizes and resources, lobbied at multiple governance levels, this study also nuances the picture of which actors participate in EU policymaking. When legislation on crucial issues is created, small national interest organizations might also target EU institutions. Finally, at least one national interest organization cooperated with private companies to share tasks and enhance lobbying strength. Such cooperation between an interest organization and its private members is a relevant topic of research in future studies on interest organizations.
Keywordscoalition lobbying interest organizations political strategies European Union EU governance EU energy and climate policy
- BDEW. (2008a) Stellungnahme des Bundesverbandes der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft zum Klima- und Energiepaket der Europäischen Kommission (‘Grünes Paket’). BDEW position paper, published 27 February, http://www.braunkohle-forum.de/files/stellungnahme_gruenes_paket.pdf.
- BDEW. (2008b) Stellungnahme zum Richtlinienentwurf der Europäischen Kommission zur Förderung von Energie aus erneuerbaren Energiequellen. BDEW position paper, published 30 May.Google Scholar
- BDEW. (2011) Energieerzeugung/Gasspesifische Fragen. Internet article, http://www.bdew.de/internet.nsf/id/8DGCCB-DE_Ueberblick, accessed 3 June 2011.
- BDI. (2008) Stellungnahme. Richtlinienvorschlag der EU-Kommission zur Förderung der Nutzung von Energie aus erneuerbaren Quellen – KOM(2008) 19. entg. vom 23. Januar 2008. BDI Position Paper, 13 March.Google Scholar
- BEE. (2008) Zertifikate-Handel für Erneuerbare Energien ist bürokratisch, teuer und ineffizient. BEE position paper, published 10 January, http://www.bee-ev.de/_downloads/publikationen/stellungnahmen/2008/080110_BEE_Stellungnahme_Emissionshandel_fuer_EE.pdf.
- BEE. (2011) Europa und Erneuerbaren Energien. Internet article, http://www.bee-ev.de/Energiepolitik/Europa/index.php, accessed 28 April 2011.
- BMU. (2011) Kurzinfo Energiewende, http://www.bmu.de/themen/klima-energie/energiewende/kurzinfo/, accessed 15 May 2011.
- Boasson, E.L. and Wettestad, J. (2010) Understanding the Differing Governance of EU Emissions Trading and Renewables. Lysaker, Norway: Fridtjof Nansen Institute. FNI Report 2/2010.Google Scholar
- Boasson, E.L. and Wettestad, J. (2013) EU Climate Policy – Industry, Policy Interaction and External Environment. Surrey, UK: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- BUSINESSEUROPE. (2008) BUSINESSEUROPE voting recommendations for Directive 2008/0019 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources. BUSINESSEUROPE Position Paper, 9 September.Google Scholar
- BWE. (2008) Stellungnahme des Bundesverbands WindEnergie (BWE) zum Entwurf der Richtlinie des Europäischen Parlaments und des Rates zur Förderung der Nutzung von Energie aus erneuerbaren Quellen. BWE position paper, published 23 May, 2011, http://www.wind-energie.de/fileadmin/dokumente/Positionspapiere/BWE_Position_EU-Richtlinie-EE_0805238.pdf.Google Scholar
- Coen, D. (2005) Environmental and business lobbying alliances in Europe: Learning from Washington. In: D.L. Levy and P. Newell (eds.) The Business of Global Environmental Governance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Coen D. and Richardson J. (eds.) (2009) Lobbying the European Union: Institutions, Actors and Issues. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Dagger, S.B. (2009) Energiepolitik & Lobbying. Die Novellierung des Erneubare-Energien-Gesetzes (EEG) 2009. PhD dissertation, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin: Stuttgart: Ibidem Verlag.Google Scholar
- Eckstein, H. (1975) Case study and theory in political science. In: F. Greenstein and N. Polsby (eds.) Handbook of Political Science. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, pp. 99–137.Google Scholar
- Eising, R. (2007a) Interest groups and the European Union. In: M. Cini (ed.) European Union Politics, 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- EURELECTRIC. (2007) Incentives for renewable energy must fit within the European market framework, press release with RECS and EFET, 7 November 2007.Google Scholar
- EURELECTRIC. (2008a) EURELECTRIC Activity Report 2008.Google Scholar
- EURELECTRIC. (2008b) EURELECTRIC welcomes adoption of the energy-climate package but warns of potential for distortion of competition. Press release 23 December 2008.Google Scholar
- European Commission. (2009) DIRECTIVE 2009/28/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:140:0016:0062:EN:PDF.
- European Commission. (2010) Energy 2020. A Strategy for Competitive, Sustainable and Secure Energy.COM (2010) 639. Brussels: European Commission, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2010:0639:FIN:EN:PDF.
- George, A.L. and Bennett, A. (2005) Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Gerring, J. (2007) Case Study Research: Principles and Practices. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Greenpeace European Union. (2007) Investor confidence in renewable energy at risk from EU-policy U-turn, press release 14 February 2007, http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/News/2009-and-earlier/investor-confidence-in-renewab/.
- Greenpeace European Union. (2008) Landmark agreement on EU law to boost renewable energy, press release 8 December 2008, http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/News/2009-and-earlier/EU-law-to-boost-clean-energy/.
- Hooghe, L. and Marks, G. (2001) Multi-Level Governance and European Integration. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
- IG BCE. (2008) IG BCE und BDI zum Klima-Paket. IG BCE and BDI Position Paper, published 5 June 2008, http://www.igbce.de/presse/pressearchiv/560/xii-27-05-06-2008-ig-bce-bdi.
- Lehmann, W. (2009) The European Parliament. In: D. Coen and J. Richardson (eds.) Lobbying the European Union: Institutions, Actors and Issues. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 39–69.Google Scholar
- Mez, L. (2007) Green Power Markets: Support Schemes, Case Studies and Perspectives. Brentwood, UK: Multi-science Publishing.Google Scholar
- Moravcsik, A. (1998) The Choice for Europe. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Moravcsik, A. and Schimmelpfennig, F. (2009) Liberal intergovernmentalism. In: A. Wiener and T. Diez (eds.) European Integration Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 66–87.Google Scholar
- Sverdrup, U. (1999) Precedents and present events in the European Union: An institutional perspective on treaty reform. In K.H. Neunreither and A. Wiener (eds.) European Integration: Institutional Dynamics and Prospects for Democracy after Amsterdam. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 241–265.Google Scholar
- WWF EU. (2008) WWF summary position paper on the EU Climate & Energy Package proposals. Position paper, published April 2008, http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/summary_position.pdf.
- WWF Germany, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Öko-Institut and Arrhenius Institut für Energie- und Klimapolitik. (2007) Klimaschutz und Stromwirtschaft 2020/2030, Research Report, June 2007, http://www.wwf.de/fileadmin/fm-wwf/pdf_neu/Klimaschutz_und_Stromwirtschaft_2020-2030.pdf.
- Ydersbond, I. (2011) Multi-level lobbying in the EU: The case of the Renewables Directive and the German energy industry. Master thesis, University of Oslo, Oslo.Google Scholar
- Yin, R.K. (2009) Case Study Research: Design and Methods, 4th edn. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.Google Scholar