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European Union Foreign Policy and the Global Climate Regime


Simon Schunz

Ever since the first international negotiations on climate change in the early 1990s, the European Union has aspired to play a leading role in global climate politics.
This book engages in a longitudinal analysis of the EU’s participation in and impact on the United Nations climate regime.
It provides not only comprehensive insights into the evolution of EU foreign climate policy, but also a thought-provoking audit of the potential and limits of the EU’s influence in a major domain of global affairs.
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← 300 | 301 →Conclusion


This study examined the activities and impact of the European Union as a foreign policy actor in one central domain of global politics. In so doing, it touched upon a range of crucial academic and political debates about the opportunities for a single actor to make a difference on the world stage in an age of globalization. This concluding chapter synthesizes the key insights of the study by explicitly answering the three research questions that guided it, before setting the results into a broader context. To do so, a brief sketch of the contribution this study makes to existing research is linked to the identification of research desiderata. The work closes with a reflection on the normative implications of the study, projecting itself into the future of EU foreign climate policy.

When it comes to answering the first research question of how the European Union attempts to exert influence on the global climate regime, the findings of this study were fairly clear-cut across time. As a foreign policy actor, the EU makes use predominantly of formal, diplomatic tools aimed at solving the problem of climate change through arguing within the multilateral arena. Its main influence attempts are geared toward the UN negotiation process, and regularly come in the form of written or oral submissions to the UNFCCC, based on internal political agreements or legislation. In advancing its positions, timing is frequently crucial: the EU regularly tries to be the first major player to make far-reaching substantial proposals. Across...

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