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The War in Ukraine and EU Climate Leadership


Prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, EU deliberations on the ‘Fit-for-55’ climate/energy package embedded in the European Green Deal were already well underway. The energy transition had also begun to gain traction towards more renewables, energy saving and emissions reduction.  The invasion caused an energy-political earthquake that threatened to split the EU, slowing down or weakening these ongoing processes. This study finds that the invasion: 1) strengthened rather than weakened the ‘Fit for 55’ package; 2) accelerated rather than slowed the ongoing energy transition; and 3) may have strengthened the EU’s potential for climate leadership-by-example. However, the further consequences are highly uncertain as the EU shifts from crisis response to long-term governance of climate and energy policy implementation.


EU, climate policy, energy policy, leadership, Russia's invasion, exteral shock

Discussion Article (PDF)

Author Biography

Jon Birger Skjærseth

Jon Birger Skjærseth is Research Professor at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute. His research interests include international environmental cooperation, European climate and energy policies and corporate strategies. Among his publications are the following books which he co-authored: Corporate responses to EU Emissions Trading (2013), Linking EU Climate and Energy Policies (2016) and The Politics of Low-Carbon Innovation (2020).