A Multi-level Analysis of the EU Linking Directive Process: The Controversial Connection between EU and Global Climate Policy

FNI Report 8/2007. Lysaker, FNI, 2007, 78 p.

Despite initial scepticism in the EU towards the Kyoto Protocol’s project mechanisms (the CDM and JI), the "Linking Directive" was adopted in October 2004, connecting the EU emissions trading scheme with the project mechanisms. Not only was the Linking Directive settled remarkably quickly, the decisionmaking process also left a more liberal text, with fewer restrictions on the use of the project mechanisms, as compared to the initial directive proposal. This report examines possible explanations to this puzzle, evaluating whether Member State preferences, EU institutions or external influence from the climate regime best can contribute to understanding the process. On the basis of the analysis of written sources stemming from the decision-making process, as well as seven indepth interviews, the report finds that Member State preferences were the main driver in the Linking Directive process. This gives support to the intergovernmentalist mantra, that Member States are the main decision-makers in the EU. It also challenges much recent research claiming that EU policy-making is increasingly being taken out of the hands of the nation-state and into supranational actors such as the Commission and the European Parliament.