The Environment and the European Public Sphere

Perceptions, Actors, Policies

Edited by Christian Wenkel, Eric Bussière, Anahita Grisoni and Hélène Miard-Delacroix


Since the 1970s, environmental issues have become a major concern for European citizens and thus for European politicians. In the same time frame the political sphere in Europe, and in particular within the European Union, has also been undergoing major transformations. Dealing with environmental issues over more than fifty years in a historical perspective enables us to gain a better understanding of these transformations, notably the emergence of a European public sphere and how this is changing decision-making processes. Drawing on recent research results from various disciplines, including history, sociology, law and political sciences, this volume addresses the methodological challenge of a European perspective on a transnational subject – one that is commonly distorted by a national prism. It shows how perceptions of the environment are increasingly converging and how these convergences of views across political or linguistic borders in the long run exert an undeniable influence not only on political debates but also on political decisions across Europe.
Revealing European characteristics of perceptions, debates and policies, this volume contributes to a history of Europeanisation beyond the usual political turning points and limits.

The Environment and the European Public Sphere est un ouvrage qui atteint de manière remarquable l’objectif d’analyser les processus par lesquels, sur le temps long, la thématique de l’environnement a construit – et a été construite par – la sphère publique européenne. … Ce livre est un plaisir à lire et la source de nombreuses découvertes passionnantes.’ 

Florence Faucher – Politique européenne.

‘a valuable contribution to current endeavors of diversifying the history of European integration’

Melina Antonia Buns – H-Net reviews
Fully Open Access through the support of Knowledge Unlatched

Read full text on JSTOR.


  • Chapter 1. The First International Congress for the Protection of Landscapes: A European Convergence? CHARLES-FRANÇOIS MATHIS
  • Chapter 2. The Historical Roots of the European Culture of Catastrophes. FRANÇOIS WALTER
  • Chapter 3. Europe and Chernobyl: Contested Localisations of the Accident’s Environmental, Political, Social and Cultural Impact. KARENA KALMBACH
  • Chapter 4. The Western European Public Sphere and the Environment in Eastern Europe during the Cold War: Between Model, Utilisation and Denunciation. MICHEL DUPUY
  • Chapter 5. The Impact of East German Nature Conservationists on the European Environmental Consciousness in the 20th Century. ASTRID MIGNON KIRCHHOF
  • Chapter 6. Wetlands of Protest. Seeking Transnational Trajectories in Hungary’s Environmental Movement. DANIELA NEUBACHER
  • Chapter 7. Towards a ‘Europe of Struggles’? Three Visions of Europe in the Early Anti-Nuclear Energy Movement 1975–79. ANDREW TOMPKINS
  • Chapter 8. Entering the European Political Arena, Adapting to Europe: Greenpeace International 1987–93. LIESBETH VAN DE GRIFT, HANS RODENBURG, GUUS WIEMAN
  • Chapter 9. The Development of Green Parties in Europe: Obstacles and Opportunities 1970–2015. EMILIE VAN HAUTE
  • Chapter 10. Will Europe Ever Become ‘Green’? The Green Parties’ Pro-European and Federalist Turning Point since the 1990s. GIORGIO GRIMALDI
  • Chapter 11. A Touch of Green Amid the Grey. Europe During the Formative Phase of the German Greens from the 1970s to the 1980s: Between Rejection and Reformulation. SILKE MENDE
  • Chapter 12. Energy and the Environment in Parliamentary Debates in the Federal Republic of Germany, United Kingdom and France from the 1970s to the 1990s. EVA OBERLOSKAMP
  • Chapter 13. Responding to the European Public? Public Debates, Societal Actors and the Emergence of a European Environmental Policy. JAN-HENRIK MEYER
  • Chapter 14. The Major Stages in the Construction of European Environmental Law. SOPHIE BAZIADOLY
  • Chapter 15. Multi-Level Learning: How the European Union Draws Lessons from Water Management at the River Basin Level. MARJOLEIN VAN EERD , DUNCAN LIEFFERINK
  • Chapter 16. Environmental Protection and the Evolution of the French and German Energy Systems from 1973 to the 2000s. christopher fabre
  • Chapter 17. Trajectories of European Environmental Governance over Time. ANTHONY ZITO

Publication date, 15 September 2020
ISBN 978-1-912186-14-3 (HB) £75. 300 pp.