Drawing on multi-level governance theory this paper explores the mechanisms that the European Union (EU) was employing to include international aviation into its EU ETS and a subsequent policy failure. This paper also shows the role of sectoral organizations in the process of blocking the EU environmental policy regarding CO2 emissions from aircraft. It is claimed here that the EU's green leadership is facing a strong opposition on two grounds. Firstly because the EU legislation translates into costs that the industry needs to bear. Secondly, the EU's unilateral decision concerning aviation resulted in unprecedented hostility towards the EU environmental policies. While employing the interpretive policy analysis the paper explores the beliefs and meanings that the participants of the policy process have. Furthermore, the EU ETS and aviation are analysed in a broader perspective of international policy-making and international sectoral organisations such as International Civil Aviation Organisation or International Air Transport Association. Relaying on interviews with stake-holders and industry representatives that were conducted in Washington, DC and Bruxelles the paper offers methodological insights about researching the EU both while looking at it from its core as well as from the third country perspective.
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