Politics of the European Green Deal: What is the Role of Missions?

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Henrik Larsen


University College London


DKK 1,235,778




Reintegration Fellowships


The European Green Deal presented by the European Commission in December 2019 sets out an ambitious roadmap to transform the European Union into a climate-neutral, circular economy by 2050. The long-term policy framework is characterised by a notable shift from a sectoral to systemic focus, reflecting an awareness of the limitations of established governance approaches and the scale and character of environmental challenges facing Europe, including climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. To address these challenges, targeted, measurable, and time-bound missions set a clear direction for research and innovation activities in the new Horizon Europe programme and reinforce the two main pillars of the European Green Deal around climate action and digitalisation.


The nature and complexity of environmental problems require policy solutions at multiple scales and levels. The promise of missions is that bottom-up experimentation involving a broader and more diverse set of stakeholders leads to more effective solutions that can be scaled up, thereby contributing to meeting the long-term targets of the European Green Deal. Despite the importance of policy intervention in the governance of missions, little is known about the type of public sector capacities that are needed to coordinate their implementation. The central interest of this fellowship is the explicit engagement with research and innovation missions linked to green hydrogen and the organisation of public sector capacities across multiple levels of governance.


Several European Union member states have adopted mission-oriented policy strategies, prioritising green hydrogen from renewable electricity as a key option to decarbonise national energy consumption. These are prominent multi-level policy initiatives, and there is a strong argument for treating green hydrogen explicitly and directly as a key domain of mission-oriented policy-relevant knowledge. In particular, there is a need to understand better how missions as coordinating devices can ensure mutually reinforcing dynamics across different levels of governance. A key objective of this fellowship is to explore practical multi-level governance arrangements and specific combinations of organisational capacities spanning multiple public sector agencies that are needed to coordinate the implementation of mission-oriented policy initiatives.

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