Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Author Archives: Viviane Gravey

Too hot to handle? The Renewable Heat Incentive scheme & the Northern Irish meltdown

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Since December, Northern Ireland has been bogged down in a major scandal on an apparently simple policy instrument – the renewable heat incentive scheme. The scheme, closed in early 2016, was set up in 2012 to encourage renewable heat uptake. Since then, it has generated a massive overspend (more than £1bn UK public money, £600 […]

Nature Directives ‘Fit for Purpose’: a turning point for EU policy dismantling?

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The 28 EU Commissioners met today to decide the fate of the EU’s Nature Directives (the 1979 Birds Directive and 1992 Habitats Directive). Would these two directives, the cornerstone of EU biodiversity legislation, be deemed ‘fit for purpose’ or would they be revised and potentially weakened? After years of internal debates within the European Commission, […]

Donald Trump v. The Environment: learning from past attempts to dismantle environmental policy

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A week after the Paris Agreement entered into force, the United States have elected Donald J. Trump as their 45th President – a man who famously described climate change as “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” His stance on climate change, his strong support for coal and pledge […]

Heathrow expansion in the shadow of Brexit

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After decades of debate on where – and whether – to expand airport capacity in south-eastern England, the UK government announced two days ago that it would favour building a third runway at Heathrow Airport. This option, highly criticised on environmental grounds (notably due to the air pollution caused by road transport to the airport) […]

Can European policies be dismantled?

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A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 42 per cent of Europeans were keen for some ‘powers’ to be returned to the national level, with only 19 per cent favouring further centralisation at EU level. The idea of ‘less Europe’ is not new: calls for it date back to the great subsidiarity debate of […]

Is the EU as green as it used to be?

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With the referendum on UK EU membership fast approaching, both the Leave and Remain campaigns have put forward their views on the future of environmental policy in the UK and its relationship with the EU. This political debate raises a number of questions:  how green is the European Union; how effective or in some cases […]

Why the environment matters in the British EU Referendum debate

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Monday 11 April saw the launch of an impartial and independent review: the EU referendum and the UK environment. Authored by 14 international experts – and led by the three of us – this review draws on the findings of over 700 publications to investigate how has EU membership affected the UK and what might […]

A surprising deal? Cameron’s ‘reformed EU’ & the environment

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When the European Council finally drew to a close on February 19, 2016, the deal to help secure the UK’s continued membership in the European Union (called the ‘Anti-Brexit’ deal in continental newspapers) was finally agreed. After years of discussions and months of negotiations, there was a deal, publically available. This document provides insight into […]

“On track” or “probably not enough”? EU climate policies in Juncker’s first State of the European Union address

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Last Wednesday, Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his first State of the European Union (SOTEU) address. This speech – the longest since Barroso started yearly SOTEU back in 2010 – is a key agenda-setting moment for the Commission President, providing the opportunity to set out a personal vision on the major issues facing the European Union today. […]

Empowering the European Parliament: a greener, more European way out of the European crises?

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Of the four main European Institutions,[1] the European Parliament (EP) has most struggled to be heard on the recent crises affecting Europe (monetary, economic, social, environmental…).[2] At a time when the European project is at great risk, and when European leaders struggle to define a common European interest, it is perhaps time to turn to […]

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