The European Union’s Environmental Foreign Policy: From Planning to a Strategy?
In the early twenty-first century, environmental matters have become subject to high politics, tackled in complex global contexts. In such contexts, effectively dealing with environmental challenges requires a geopolitically informed environmental foreign policy strategy. This article examines whether, to what extent and for what reasons the European Union, with its highly developed internal environmental regime and its ambition to lead global environmental politics, possesses such a strategy. It argues that the EU has for a long time pursued a leadership-by-example approach, characterized by attributes of planning rather than a strategy, but that signs of change can nowadays be detected notably in the area of climate change. Drawing on insights from pragmatist reasoning, the article concludes by suggesting how the EU’s environmental foreign policy could develop further strategically.