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The European Green Deal Agenda After the Attack on Ukraine: Exogenous Shock Meets Policy‐Making Stability

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Abstract:  The present article investigates how the EU climate and energy governance framework launched by the European Green Deal has been affected by the exogenous shock of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine. Harnessing punctuated equilibrium theory, the theoretical approach applies its conceptual triad of policy images, venues, and feedback to the adoption of the current REPowerEU program as a critical test case of highly stable policy-making encountering a situation of exogenous shock. In the empirical part, a mixed-method content analysis of policy documents issued by the European Council and Commission from the adoption of the European Green Deal in 2019 to the current stage is presented to gauge the impact of the Russian attack on agenda-setting at the macro and meso-political levels of the EU. A second step evaluates how the expanded and more geopolitical policy image of the REPowerEU agenda is applied to extant governance processes. In this regard, the analysis identifies three factors limiting the impact of exogenous shock: the availability of three separate policy subsystems for the parallel processing of policy components, institutional safeguards for maintaining policy stability through supranational rules and provisions, and the critical function of the Commission in limiting revisions to a few targeted proposals. In conclusion, policy stability outweighs aspects of disruption and change, while the more diverse set of policy processes creates new challenges for the coherence of efforts to achieve decarbonization.

Keywords:  agenda‐setting; climate change; European Green Deal; punctuated equilibrium theory; REPowerEU

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v11i4.7343


© Frank Wendler. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.