On invitation by the Hanns Seidel Foundation, experts and decision-makers from more than 20 countries discussed the future of “Crisis Governance in Multilevel Systems” during the “International Munich Federalism Days”. Taking stock of recent crises around the globe, the participants assessed how federal systems on all continents responded to these crises. During the debates it became clear that effective and efficient crisis responses are not the only challenge to crisis management. Crisis measures need to be accountable to citizens preferences and democratic processes may not be sidelined in order to ensure effective implementation.
The Union of European Federalists (UEF), represented by Julian Plottka, co-chair of the UEF’s Federal Committee and researcher at the Universities of Bonn and Passau, offered together with Irina Kustova, Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), and Michelle Wiesner, Policy Officer at the Hanns Seidel Foundation’s Brussels Office, a workshop on “The EU as a system of multi-level governance: Case study on the climate and energy policy”. Following introductions to EU’s political system, its competences in different policy areas and current policy projects in the area of climate policy, with a focus on their implementation on different levels of the EU’s multilevel system, the debate focused on questions of legitimacy of the EU climate policy.
The participants discussed that effective climate policy requires the support of citizens and stakeholders affected. They were skeptical whether, an effective fight against climate change would suffice to legitimize the necessary measures. Building on a minimum of pan-European solidarity, input legitimacy is required to legitimize EU climate policy, which has redistributive effects. As the EU’s ability to generate input legitimacy is deficient, institutional reforms are required.
In addition, the participants discussed the efficiency of EU decision-making. While some argued that lengthy EU decision-making undermines the EU’s ability to effectively fight climate change, others saw a trade-off with democracy. Finding compromises takes time, but decisions involving a large number of stakeholders are more likely considered legitimate and a, therefore, swift implementation can make up for time losses during EU decision-making.