Searching for Green interests: An analysis of whether Finnish environmental organizations fulfill their potential in the national and EU levels
ISO-MARKKU, ELINA (2010)
Valtio-oppi - Political Science
This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
The main theme of my thesis is environmental interest groups and how they navigate in multiple levels of decision making. It is the purpose of this study to find out if environmental NGOs operating on the national level are fulfilling, or even aware of, their potential on both the national and EU level. Since the establishment of the EU the power relationships of the different actors have been changing. Today, interest groups have potentially more power than ever before. Although, when observing the situation from the outside it appears as if the organizations are not taking a full advantage of the situation. In the research most attention is paid to the lobbying activities of the NGOs on both levels and if anything is achieved by it. Also, the plan is to find out if environmental organizations in Finland are aware of the, mostly legal, opportunities they have on the European level: Finland has been brought in front of the ECJ for infringements of the EC law, in the policy area of environment, by the Council numerous times, but extremely rarely has an environmental organization taken legal action against the state. The question arises why not? Do they not have the resources or knowledge to do so? Or could it be the case that they are supplying the Commission with the evidence needed to pursue legal action?The main theoretical concept used in this research is multi-level governance. Environmental interest groups act successfully on many different levels ranging from the local communities to the international level. Multi-level governance inspects how different actors, varying from institutional to non-governmental, act and impose their influence on different levels of governance. The secondary theory deals with interest groups and how they interact with other actors on multiple levels of the decision making. This theory concentrates directly to interest groups and the possibilities they have on the EU level.For the purpose of this research, seven Finnish environmental organizations were interviewed. The list of seven includes all the major environmental NGOs based or branched out to Finland. They are all nationally influential and have a great potential to act internationally, if they are not doing so already. These interviews also constitute the main research material for this thesis.The amount of resources available to the organizations plays an immense part in how well these nongovernmental organizations fulfil their potential in any level. The larger organizations with bigger pool of resource do seem to be aware, and take advantage, of the possibilities they have on both the national and EU levels. However, on the EU level it is possible for a smaller national level organization to belong to an International or EU level organization and, hence, have relatively more power on the EU than on the national level.
- Pro gradut