Analysis of the Influence of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU Exemplified by the EU Emissions Trading System Reform

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-6-21-32
N. Kaveshnikov (,
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University), The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation;
Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences (IE RAS), 11-3B, Mokhovaya Str., Moscow, 125993, Russian Federation

Received 28.12.2020.

Acknowledgments. The article has been supported by the Institute of International Studies of the MGIMO-University. Project No. 2022-02-01.

Abstract. The article examines the comparative influence of the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament in the ordinary legislative procedure using the example of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) reform. The study was carried out on the basis of a process tracing method. Primary data includes documents reflecting positions of the actors (summary of consultations, position papers, statements) and the progress of the legislative process (Commission proposal, EP amendments, discussions in the Council, final text of the directive). In total, 21 important elements of the reform were analysed, on which the positions of the European Parliament and the Council diverged significantly. The following conclusions are made. 1) The case study provides a relevant example of the consensual nature of the EU decision-making. 2) The case study confirms that the essence of the legislative process in the EU is not a confrontation, but a faithful cooperation of both co-legislators. 3) The Commission and both co-legislators were significantly limited by the decision of the European Council, which fixed most of the basic parameters of the ETS phase IV. This corresponds to the trend of new intergovernmentalism. 4) The study of comparative influence of both co-legislators on the final text of the directive demonstrates that the member states played a decisive role in the ETS reform, and the final provisions of the directive reflect primarily the balance of interests and influence in the Council. The study shows how the interests of certain groups of the EU member states, in particular of CEE countries, were taken into account. The influence of the European Parliament on the legislative process is greater than that of individual countries, even the biggest ones, but it is no more than a quarter of the influence of the Council as an actor. 5) The study identifies a number of factors that enable the European Parliament to uphold its position more effectively.

Keywords: European Union, decision making in the EU, ordinary legislative procedure, European Parliament, Council of the European Union, energy policy, climate policy, emission trading system, greenhouse gases


1. Kaveshnikov N. Methods of Governance in the European Union. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2015, no. 8, pp. 49-60. (In Russ.) Available at:

2. Druner D., Kluver H., Mastenbroek E., Schneider G. The core or the winset? Explaining decision-making duration and policy change in the European Union. Comparative European Politics, 2018, vol. 16, pp. 271-289. DOI: 10.1057/cep.2015.26

3. Steunenberg B., Selck T.J. Testing procedural models of EU legislative decision-making. The European Union Decides. Thomson R., Stokman F.N., Achen C.H., Konig T., eds. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 54-85. DOI: 10.1017/cbo9780511492082.004

4. Konig T. Analysing the Process of EU Legislative Decision-Making. To Make a Long Story Short… European Union Politics, 2008, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 145-165. DOI: 10.1177/1465116507085960

5. Kluver H. and Sagarzazu I. Ideological congruency and decision-making speed: The effect of partisanship across European Union institutions. European Union Politics, 2013, vol. 14, iss. 3, pp. 388-407. DOI: 10.1177/1465116512472938

6. Rasmussen A., Reh C. The consequences of concluding co-decision early: Trilogues and intra institutional bargaining success. Journal of European Public Policy, 2013, no. 20 (7), pp. 1006-1024. DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2013.795391

7. Thomson R., Hosli M. Who Has Power in the EU? The Commission, Council and Parliament in Legislative Decisionmaking. Journal of Common Market Studies, 2006, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 391-417. DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2016.1264081

8. Mariotto C., Franchino F. Explaining outcomes of Conciliation Committee’s negotiations. Paper prepared for the “Decision making before and after Lisbon workshop”, Leiden University, 3–4 November 2011. Available at: (accessed 14.12.2020).

9. Kaveshnikov N.Yu. Transformation of the Institutional Structure of the European Union. Moscow, MGIMO-University, Navona, 2010. 480 .

10. Strezhneva M. Structuring the political space in the European Union (multilevel governance). Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2009, no. 12, pp. 38-49. (In Russ.)

11. Strezhneva M.V. Multilevel Financial Governance in the European Union. Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Seriya 25, 2011, no. 4, pp. 106-125. (In Russ.)

12. Kaveshnikov N. Establishment of the EU Emission Trading System: Who defined the design? Contemporary Europe, 2017, no. 6, pp. 58-69. (in Russ.)

13. Skjaerseth J., Wettestad J. The Origin, Evolution and Consequences of the EU Emissions Trading System. Global Environmental Politics, 2009, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 101-122. DOI: 10.1162/glep.2009.9.2.101

14. Convery F. Origins and Development of EU ETS. Environmental and Resource Economics, 2009, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 391-412. DOI: 10.1007/s10640-009-9275-7

15. Jevnaker T., Wettestad J. Ratcheting Up Carbon Trade: The Politics of Reforming EU Emissions Trading. Global Environmental Politics, 2017, vol. 17, no 2, pp. 105-124. DOI: 10.1162/GLEP_a_00403

16. George A.L., Bennett A. Case studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge Massachusetts, London, MIT Press, 2005. 331 p.

17. Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC. Available at: (accessed 14.12.2020).

18. Directive 2009/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community. Available at: (accessed 14.12.2020).

19. Ellerman A.D. Pricing Carbon: The European Union Emission Trading Scheme. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010. 390 p.

20. Muuls M., Colmer J., Martin R., Wagner U.J. Evaluating the EU Emissions Trading System: Take it or leave it? An assessment of the data after ten years. Grantham Institute Briefing Paper 21. London, Imperial College, 2016. 48 p.

21. Bashmakov I.A. Efficiency of the European Emission Trading System and its Evolution. Ekologicheskii vestnik Rossii, 2018, no. 4, pp. 28-37. (In Russ.)

22. Branger F., Lecuyer O., Quirion P. The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme: should we throw the flagship out with the bathwater? WIREs Climate Change, 2015, vol. 6, pp. 9-16. DOI:

23. European Environment Agency. Emissions Trading Viewer. Available at: (accessed 14.12.2020).

24. Kaveshnikov N. European Union’s climate and energy strategy’. Contemporary Europe, 2015, no. 1, pp. 93-103. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.15211/soveurope1201593103

25. European Council. Conclusions on 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework. SN79/14. October 23, 2014. Available at: (accessed 14.12.2020).

26. Commission. Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC to enhance cost-effective emission reductions and low-carbon investments. COM(2015) 337. 15.07.2015. Available at: (accessed 14.12.2020).

27. Rasmussen A. Twenty Years of Co-decision since Maastricht: Inter- and Intrainstitutional Implications. European Integration, 2012, no. 34 (7), pp. 735-751. DOI: 10.1080/07036337.2012.726012

28. Roederer-Rynning C. Passage to bicameralism: Lisbon’s ordinary legislative procedure at ten. Comparative European Politics, 2019, no. 17, pp. 957-973. DOI: 10.1057/s41295-018-0141-2

29. Kaveshnikov N. Ordinary legislative procedure in the EU as an example of cooperative practices. MGIMO Review of International Relations, 2021, no. 14 (1), pp. 126-147. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.24833/2071-8160-2021-1-76-126-147

30. Brandsma G.J. Co-decision after Lisbon: The politics of informal trilogues in European Union lawmaking. European Union Politics, 2015, no. 16 (2), pp. 300-319. DOI: 10.1177/1465116515584497

31. Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 15 February 2017 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC. Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading. European Parliament. P8_TA (2017)0035. 15 February 2017. Available at: (accessed 14.12.2020).

32. General Secretariat of the Council. General approach on Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC. Agreed by the Environment Council at its meeting on 28 February 2017. ST 6841/17. 1 March 2017. Available at: (accessed 14.12.2020).

33. Roederer-Rynning C., Greenwood J. The European Parliament as a Developing Legislature: Coming of Age in Trilogues? Journal of European Public Policy, 2017, no. 24 (5), pp. 735-754. DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2016.1184297

34. Directive 2018/410 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2018 amending Directive 2003/87/EC to enhance cost-effective emission reductions and low-carbon investments, and Decision (EU) 2015/1814. Available at: (accessed 14.12.2020).

35. Regulation (EU) No. 421/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community. Available at: (accessed 14.12.2020).

36. Commission. Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC to continue current limitations of scope for aviation activities and to prepare to implement a global market-based measure from 2021. COM (2017) 54. 03.02.2017. Available at: (accessed 14.12.2020).

37. Treaty on European Union (Consolidated version 2016). Available at: (accessed 14.12.2020).

38. Fabbrini S., Puetter U. Integration without supranationalisation: studying the lead roles of the European Council and the Council in post-Lisbon EU politics. Journal of European Integration, 2016, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 481-495. DOI: 10.1080/07036337.2016.1178254

39. Bickerton C., Hodson D., Puetter U. The New Intergovernmentalism: European Integration in the Post-Maastricht Era. Journal of Common Market Studies, 2014, no. 1, pp. 1-20. DOI: 10.1111/jcms.12212

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Kaveshnikov N. Analysis of the Influence of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU Exemplified by the EU Emissions Trading System Reform . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 6, pp. 21-32.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 4
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • Financial Contagion Propagation in Europe under the Impact of Global Shocks
  • Regional Powers on the African Continent: Trends and Prospects
  • Investment Activity of the PRC in the Kyrgyz Republic
  • “Land Grabbing” Concept: Global and National Aspects
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.