Asia Europe Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 169–182 | Cite as

EU in crisis: what implications for climate and energy policy?

  • Sasha Quahe
Original Paper


This article uses the concept of ‘obligated policy transfer’ (OPT) to analyse the impact of crisis on climate and energy policy in the European Union. First, it reviews the strengths and limitations of some variants of institutionalism in providing insight into how crises might impact on policy. It explains the underdeveloped concept of OPT and how it is highly appropriate for analysing the EU institutional system and EU policies. OPT is a type of policy transfer that is both voluntary and coercive: Member States voluntarily commit to a policy that is subsequently enforced back on them by a supranational institution during the implementation phase. Importantly, the ideational environment affects how an institutional system develops policy. Crises have impacted on the ideational environmental of the EU by damaging the legitimacy of EU integration. This has exposed structural weaknesses in the system, created institutional change and affected the development of climate and energy policy. Specifically, the analysis reveals that crises have the greatest impact on the agenda-setting and legislative phases of policy transfer in the EU because these are the most ‘voluntary’ phases for Member States. Ultimately, the article provides a way of thinking about the institutional structure of the EU that can help explain institutional change and policy outcomes.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science and International RelationsUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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