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En gemensam europeisk skogspolitik? : En integrationsteoretisk studie av ett politikområde på tillväxt

By Therese Andersson

Abstract

This dissertation examines efforts to integrate a “new” policy sector – forest and forestry – into the European Union (EU). There is currently no legal foundation for a common forest policy and some member states (not least Sweden), as well as parts of the forestry sector, have been strongly opposed to one. At the same time, administrative units and structures within the EU have been created and they and some member states have promoted a common policy. This raises the question how can we understand and explain this? The purpose of this dissertation is to problematise, map and analyse mainly Swedish actors’ attitudes to efforts to create a common forest policy within the EU. The study is based on neofunctionalism, which is a classic theory of integration, but it uses newer theorising (from intergovernmentalism and modern versions of neofunctionalism) to address some of the weaknesses of the approach. I investigate the role, preferences and strategies of the main actors. This includes EU institutions and member states. I also map European industry interests and other associations, interest groups and active networks and study their role in the process. In these multi-national settings, I pay particular (although not exclusive) attention to their Swedish members. Within Sweden, I examine how governmental and non-governmental forest actors behave vis-à-vis the EU. The empirical investigation shows that some of Swedish actors, for example the private forest owners’ organisation and forest industries associations, have change their preferences and strate gies over time. They have come to believe that whether they like it or not, other policy areas affect forest and forestry both directly and indirectly. Because of this, they now take the position that it is better to promote a limited European forest policy rather than remaining aloof and risk the creation of a much more comprehensive and centralised policy. At the same time (and for now at least), the Swedish government and most party politicians remain opposed to any attempt to formalise a forest policy within the EU. This study contributes new knowledge about how new policy areas become integrated within EU, including knowledge about the roles that different actors can have in such processes. The results are of interest to researchers, decision makers and the interested public. They can also influence thinking about Sweden’s influence in, and relation to, EU forest policy. Based on the empirical results, my theoretical conclusion is that organised interests have an important role in the integration process. The integration process of forest and forestry is not driven by one actor, but by many different actors, who operate on different levels and who have different interests. This study shows that forest and forestry-related questions have come to the EU, and they will remain there. The important question for the future is not if there will be some kind of European level policy on forest and forestry, but rather what form European policy will take

Topics: Forest policy, European Union, integration, neofunctionalism, spill-over, actors, organised interests, preferences, strategies, Sweden, Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies), Statsvetenskap (exklusive studier av offentlig förvaltning och globaliseringsstudier)
Publisher: Umeå : Statsvetenskap
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:DiVA.org:umu-1404
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