The role of think tanks in the EU environmental policy process
Over the years the number of think tanks in Brussels has increased significantly. Against this general backdrop, the lecture by Ecologic Senior Fellow Ingmar von Homeyer at the College of Europe in Bruges focussed on environmental think tanks dealing with EU environmental policy. He argued that the role and characteristics of the environmental think tanks differ significantly from those of the Brussels “generalist” think tanks, which focus on a much broader spectrum of EU policies than their environmental counterparts.
In his lecture, Ingmar von Homeyer distinguished various types of organisations which engage in think tank type activities concerning EU environmental policy. These include, among others, the generalist think tanks, academic research institutes, some commercial consultancies and environmental NGOs as well as research institutes such as Ecologic and the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), which focus on applied policy research. He then compared the characteristics and role of the generalist think tanks with the activities of Ecologic Institute and similar organisations. The comparison suggests that the characteristics and roles of generalist and environmental think tanks differ significantly in terms of, for example, research and output, policy influence and independence from sponsors.