Inderscience Publishers

Leadership in the climate change regime: the European Union in the looking glass

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This paper examines the role of European Union (EU) leadership in the climate change regime. The EU has adopted a negotiating strategy with a high profile. This strategy is seen differently by negotiators and actors from non-European and EU countries. This is evident from 67 interviews conducted over the period from October 1997 to July 1998. The analysis indicates that leadership in the climate change issue is not the prerogative of one country or one group of countries. Rather, there are groups of countries that play different types of leadership role in the process. Furthermore, leadership emerges as a 'razor thin' process. The leadership in the regime is apparently not based on broad societal support or across-the-board political commitment in the countries from which it emerges. The EU has had an active negotiating strategy. However, this strategy has been perceived to have some weaknesses, the most notable being the allegation that the EU tends to be 'hypocritical'. This article attempts to analyse the information on EU leadership in the context of the changing paradigm of leadership in the climate change regime.

Keywords: climate change, European Union, leadership, negotiation strategies, North–South issues, stakeholder analysis

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