The European Green Deal highlights the EU’s aspirations and critical role in encouraging progressive climate policies. The EU must secure support for this ambitious package from a divided Europe at great speed. At the national level, states need to coordinate the implementation of vast amounts of legislation across multiple sectors and in a way that is democratically legitimate. They have to do so in a turbulent situation, characterised by the unpredictability and profound uncertainty of the climate transition, but also of other events like the pandemic, the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine. In DEAL, we study whether and how the European Green Deal generates turbulence at the EU level, how this strategy is impacted by surrounding turbulence and how any turbulence induced by the European Green Deal impacts countries affiliated with the EU. We expect EU members and affiliated non-members to be affected differently, as we assume that non-members do not have the same insight into the policymaking processes at the EU level or the same internal drive as member states have, where EU matters are to a larger extent part of the domestic political debates. For this reason, we focus on the implementation of the European Green Deal in one affiliated non-member (Norway) and one member (Denmark). We study the effects for public governance and democratic legitimacy at the national level and explore how such turbulence can be handled. The DEAL project is important as no other comparison of the relative turbulence experienced and dealt with by EU member and non-member states has yet been undertaken. Such an analysis will, therefore, provide important lessons for other EU member and non-member states. With exception of a few reports there is also no scientific research analysing the implications of the European Green Deal for Norway or Denmark. DEAL also contributes to a nascent literature on turbulence that has only recently been applied to EU climate governance.
The transition to climate neutrality in society is extraordinary and unavoidable: reaching the world’s climate goals requires a transition of a nature, scale and tempo never witnessed before. Introducing the European Green Deal (EGD), the European Commission has set a strategy to make Europe the first climate neutral continent in the world. In DEAL we assume that the EGD represents a distinct governance challenge with legitimacy implications. One set of issues pertains to the extraordinary speed, comprehensive and cross-sectoral nature of the EGD. Another set of issues pertains to the forms of governing and political turbulence that such a process entails. Turbulence can, for example, disrupt the balance between political leadership and independent expertise or between electoral representation and interest group involvement. Likewise, it can constrain (or be perceived to constrain) a country’s autonomy and sovereignty. DEAL is concerned with how these challenges manifest themselves in the development of the EGD at EU level as well as in the implementation of EGD at national level. Comparing Norway and Denmark, DEAL is interested in understanding the consequence of the turbulence that the EGD creates for governance and legitimacy of the climate transition in these countries and whether the extent of challenges is related to EU affiliation. DEAL will study the EGD as a governing challenge along different dimensions: the nature of the turbulence challenge at the EU level (WP2), the consequences of these challenges for governance at domestic level (WP3), the implications for democratic legitimacy (WP4), and the theoretical and practical ramifications (WP1 and WP5). This is important because of the urgent need to understand the development of EGD and its implications for Norwegian and Danish restructuring and use of policy instruments.