Claire Godet on ETS negotiations at Euroacademia conference

Claire Godet discussed her study of stakeholders involved in the Emissions Trading System negotiations at a Euroacademia conference on 26 January 2019.

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The 7th International Conference ‘The European Union and the Politicization of Europe’ aimed to survey some of the current debates in EU studies and addressed the challenges of the EU polity in a context of multiple crises that confronted Europe in recent years. It aimed to offer a platform for dissemination of research results or puzzles that can contribute to a better understanding of the on-going process of politicization within the European Union.

Claire Godet presented her research as part of Panel 6: The crisis of Europe and its political challenges: Assessing the EU’s legitimacy crisis and perceptions from ETS negotiations to asylum and migration policy, which took place on 26 January 2019.

Avoiding a legitimacy crisis despite the quarrels: The EU in the Emissions Trading System negotiations

Claire Godet, PLATO PhD researcher (ESR6), ARENA Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo


For a decade, the European Union (EU) has been struggling through different crises: it has difficulty recovering from the financial crisis; it seems unable to deal with the migration waves; and it has now to face Brexit. If it has been shown that the EU thrives in times of crisis, it is also true that the EU has never been faced with so many challenges at once and many scholars have concluded that the EU is currently facing a legitimacy crisis. This paper argues otherwise. Indeed, it shows that legitimacy and legitimacy crisis are distorted concepts that have lost their operational power.

Analysing the interviews of eleven stakeholders involved in the Emissions Trading System negotiations (ETS), the paper discusses the link between policy evaluation and legitimacy assessment. While many studies imply that discontent about a policy or an institution leads to legitimacy troubles, it shows that actually constituencies do not use the same norms to evaluate a policy or a polity, making the relationship between policy evaluation and polity’s legitimacy more complex than expected. In a second step, the paper shows that, if stakeholders disagree with some actions or behaviours of the EU, they do not contest the commonality that the EU builds, i.e. a negotiation arena: stakeholders might contest the unfairness or the results of the game but they do not contest the rules of the game. Because stakeholders agree with the organising principles, they do not withdraw their support to the EU even though they might not support its policies or institutional structure. Therefore, the EU is not facing a legitimacy crisis. It is at worse experiencing legitimation troubles.


When: 25-26 January 2019
Organiser: Euroacademia
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The 7th Euroacademia International Conference: The European Union and the Politicization of Europe

Published Feb. 1, 2019 8:23 AM - Last modified Sep. 18, 2020 3:57 PM