Consulting Stakeholders?: Assessing Stakeholder Consultations in the European Energy Policy

Consulting Stakeholders?: Assessing Stakeholder Consultations in the European Energy Policy

Eleftheria Vasileiadou (VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-344-7.ch017

Abstract

The participation of stakeholders in policy formation has increased, based on the recognition that policy-makers today face increasingly complex and non-linear problems, requiring flexible modes of governance. In this chapter, I analyse the role of formalised stakeholder consultations in EU energy policy and their potential of integrating climate change issues. More specifically, I empirically investigate how stakeholder consultation processes influenced the formation of the EU Energy Communication of 2007. The analysis shows that there was limited diversity of participation in consultations, as actors from civil society or NGOs were not included. Moreover, the role of scientific knowledge in the consultations was minimal. Actors at the regional and sub-national level are generally ignored in such formalised consultation processes. Recommendations for EU policymakers and organisers of consultations are provided.
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Background

In the context of many social, economic and environmental issues, participatory methods for the inclusion of stakeholders in policy shaping and policy formulation have increased over the past decades (Hajer & Wagenaar, 2003; Innes & Booher, 2003). This shift is related to two interdependent developments. The first development relates to the rise of the knowledge society, the increasing importance of the role of theoretical and codified scientific knowledge in all social processes (Webster, 2006) and especially as input to policy making. In this context, there is a tendency of states and other organizations to rely on formal knowledge for dealing with complex problems (e.g. the importance of scientific projections, foresight exercises, indicators and statistics in policy-making and organisational decision-making). The role of scientific knowledge and scientific expertise as input to the policy-making process has increased, especially when addressing complex and global problems (Welp, Vega-Reinert, Stoll-Kleemann, & Jaeger, 2006).

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