Prof Thomas Hoerber in his closing speech at the conference on The Governance of Sustainability in Europe

From the 22nd to the 24th of September 2021, the research network ‘Governance of Sustainability in Europe’ held its closing conference which focused on the dynamics of European integration in the areas of sustainability policy and resulting politics. The event took place both online and at the ESSCA campus in Angers and was open to the public. During the conference, attendees shared opinions, thoughts, and suggestions with the different participants.

The European Environmental Conscience in EU Politics – A Developing Ideology (Routledge) - a new book edited by Prof Thomas Hoerber and Dr Gabriel Weber

Questions and Answers for the speakers of the Green Finance panel The first session was dedicated to the presentation of a forthcoming book: The European Environmental Conscience in EU Politics – A Developing Ideology (Routledge, 2021), by Pr Thomas Hoerber and Dr Gabriel Weber. Some of the authors who contributed to this book, Dr Marjorie Tendero, Dr Tomasz Braun and Joel Kuenzer, were given the floor to further arouse our curiosity and give us insights into their chapters. The second session, under the guidance of Dr Kristina Kurze, discussed Energy Policies and Resources. They questioned Romania’s controversial Recovery and Resilience plan, overviewed policies related to the EU’s circular economy action plan, and looked at the implementation of energy and climate governance regulation. Day two started with the Session 3, with Dr Gabriel Weber as chair. The main interest was the EU as a global sustainability actor. From the presentation of EU diplomacy for sustainability to its ambition in international environment negotiations, through the hypothesis of the “Brussels effect” as the answer, the EU’s role, and its level of influence on the international stage were scrutinised. Session 4, under the title ‘Technology and know-how in EU sustainability policies’, was supervised by Dr Kristina Kurze. The presentations explored the role of academic knowledge transfer models for sustainable innovation and the role of digital service companies in a digital society. Romain Poivet from ADEME during the pressentation of EU Sustainable Finance cohesion policy: Perspective on the relationship between corporate climate transition plans and the EU’s sustainable finance framework The day ended with Session 5, hosted by Pr Thomas Hoerber, where Panel 4 discussed Green Finance. Discussions dealt with the position of the European Central Bank in EU sustainability strategy, regulatory initiatives, and green fiscal systems.

Making the European Green Deal Work: EU sustainability policies at home and abroad’ by Dr Kristina Kurze and Dr Helene Dyrhauge - to be published in 2022/23

The sixth session on Friday morning was dedicated to the presentation of the forthcoming book: ‘Making the European Green Deal Work: EU sustainability policies at home and abroad’ by Dr Kristina Kurze and Dr Helene Dyrhauge. They selected a rich selection of papers under the framework of the EGD, how the EU induces change, and which tools and logic induce that change. The book focuses on transformation processes within the EU and in countries such as Russia and the Middle East that haven’t yet been the subject of much research.

Closing remarks by Professor Thomas Hoerber and outlook for the future of this research network

In his concluding remarks, Pr Thomas Hoerber mentioned the wide interest for this conference with about 20 online and 20 on-site participants. During the conference, we heard 17 presentations, most of which will be published. But beyond numbers, the success of this conference is also related to the wide variety of topics that reached beyond the original remit of this research network, and therefore fulfilled its purpose to cover subjects that have not been researched before. Another qualitative point; out of this research network there will be several book publications; one at the end of 2021 (Gabriel Weber / Thomas Hoerber), one in 2022/23 (Kristina Kurze / Helene Dyrhauge), and a third book project is already underway with Christoph Weber and Marjorie Tendero who will take the lead on this project along with Thomas Hoerber (if you are interested in participating in this project, please contact one of the editors.) Finally, the question that remains is how will this research network, with about 30 to 40 researchers, live on? Pr Thomas Hoerber encouraged the participants to suggest further frameworks and ways of continuing the research carried out so far. This is only the first step in taking us further in our understanding of sustainable development and everything that goes with it in the widest possible sense.

Read more about the research network "Governance of Sustainability in Europe" | The programme of this event is available here.

The conference was preceded by a roundtable in French and open to the general public:

"Stakeholders, purpose and objectives of sustainable development in Europe"

Roundtable discussion on Stakeholders, purpose and objectives of sustainable development in Europe"An old tradition of European studies at ESSCA”; this is how Professor Michel Catala introduced the conference held on September 22, 2021, both online and at ESSCA, Angers. Noam Leandri, Secretary General of ADEME, Francesco Mattina, Vice-President of CPVO Angers, Catherine Chabaud, European Parliament, Anne Houtman, Team Europe, and Pascale Beldent, head of the ESSCA CSR mission, were the speakers who offered answers to the question of sustainable development in Europe and broadened our lines of thought. Sustainable development is, first of all, an encounter between the awareness of, and the reality of, sustainable development. This is followed by a commitment, a will to act, coupled with a promise of action. Finally, it is action itself; the construction of a project, the respect of its guidelines, and the rallying of stakeholders to the cause. Because there is strength in numbers, it is together that we will succeed in making things happen. From households to companies, from a state to the European Union, the need for cooperation is necessary. Today, more and more households are willing to sort waste; more and more companies are knocking on the door of organisations such as ADEME to be accompanied in their ecological transition. Society and the business world as a whole are increasingly aware that there is a shift to be made. Different states and the European Union, by setting up programmes such as the Green Deal, exert positive pressure on everyone involved. However, the impact of such programmes to alleviate a global problem will only be meaningful if they are implemented on an international scale.

Click here to listen to the conference (in French).

Discussion with Catherine Chabaud, Noam Leandri, Francesco Mattina, Anne Houtman, Pascale Beldent

From left to right: Prof Michel CATALA (Alliance Europa, Nantes University), Francesco MATTINA (CPVO), Catherine CHABAUD (European Parliament), Noam LEANDRI (ADEME), Pascale BELDENT (ESSCA), Prof Thomas HOERBER (EU*Asia Institute/ESSCA)

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