Politics, Foreign Policy and Regional Cooperation
Edited by Paul G. Harris
Chapter 6: Sweden, Climate Change and the EU Context
Kate E Marshall INTRODUCTION The 1995 accession of Sweden to the European Union (EU) was largely viewed with promise, as perhaps ushering in a new era of more environmentally sensitive behavior by the EU. The effects that EU membership would have on Sweden’s domestic policies were hotly debated within Sweden, and the left and green parties took an anti-accession stance (Miles 1997: 26). However, outside of Sweden the environmental beneﬁts of Swedish membership in the EU were less contested, as Sweden was seen as bolstering the general level of environmental awareness among EU member states. In concert with Finland and Austria, who also joined in 1995, Sweden was a potential coalition partner with Denmark, thereby forming a ‘Nordic block’ to advance environmental issues within the EU (Barnes 1996: 217–18). This was a well-founded expectation, given the strong history of environmental cooperation among the Nordic states in the Nordic Council (Barnes 1996: 218), as well as the high environmental standards each state maintained individually. A perfect alliance with perfect outcomes was not expected; the ability of states to inﬂuence EU policy is subject to limits, and the Nordic EU members have national rivalries, as well as differing national policies and national political preferences on some issues (Barnes 1996: 217–18). All the same, the accession of a state with a proven history of progressive international environmental cooperation was cause for increased environmental expectations. While the environmental record of Sweden is certainly laudable, Sweden has not always made environmentally...
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