The EU Enlargement and Green Movement in the Eastern Europe: From Environmental Justice to Environmental Modernization?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 15:30
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Richard FILCAK, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia
Strength of the green movement in the Eastern Europe was to a great extend build on presenting the environmental problems generated by the economic and social development in terms of differentiated impact and justice. The main perceived inequalities were in differentiated distribution of the environmental impacts between generations and/or among people. Yet in the last years of economic and social transformation, agenda of protest and justice was gradually replaced by the policy work and formulation of the environmental problems as technical challenges within the limits of the system. In other words, as a problem of environmental modernisation. The paper focuses on the EU and the EU accession process. The accession is accompanied in the applying countries by fundamental and deep changes in the legal system, policy framework, and policy practice. The EU has been actively involving green movement into the process and thus become important factor shaping NGO agenda, while in the same time provides crucial source of funding for NGOs in this region. The paper is based on the on-going qualitative research of NGOs from the Eastern Europe and West Balkan in particular. The EU enlargement process has provided NGOs with a unique position where the process can be used as a leverage to promote new policies, legislation and measures. Yet, are the NGOs really able to influence decision making? How the EU shapes agenda and work of the NGOs; and does the EU and the EU enlargement enhancing or weakening position of the NGOs in the society? We argue, that “professionalization” of the movement often led to resignation (or inability) to generate public support, partly because NGOs itself are often seen as part of the elites and detached from the issues of the environmental justice and social solidarity.