Dimitrov tapped to support EU climate team

Political Science professor Radoslav Dimitrov is playing an important role in reworking how the European Union is communicating its climate policies.

A global environmental politics and climate diplomacy expert, Dimitrov was recently invited to become a member of the European Union (EU) Presidency team and asked to re-design the political communication strategy for the EU in climate negotiations. He has been part of EU team at climate negotiations, through the Bulgarian government, since 2009.

Earlier this month, Dimitrov presented to a team of European diplomats, including the heads of delegations of 28 countries, and the chief climate negotiators of the EU. The communication strategy focused both on persuasive argumentation to external negotiating partners, and speaking to mass media and civil society.

“The EU has somewhat of a problem because it is clearly the leader in climate policy. Domestically, it has achieved emission reductions of 23 per cent compared to 1999 levels, while also seeing economic growth of 53 per cent,” Dimitrov explained.

Despite this growth, however, the EU “also faces criticism because people do not seem to recognize the achievements, and other countries criticize the EU for not doing more.”

Dimitrov proposed a 10-point strategy that optimizes argumentation vis-à-vis other countries at negotiations and alleviates public relations problems with media and civil society. His plan focuses on how to reframe the discourse, and change the content of messages.

“The overall thrust is to create a more assertive tone and more effective persuasion in the negotiations,” he said.

Following the presentation, the decision was made to establish a new EU group on political communication to follow up on Dimitrov’s suggestions.

“This is a new dedicated body to elaborate a negotiating strategy,” Dimitrov said. “It is exciting to be helping to re-design the communication strategy of one of the biggest diplomatic coalitions, in one of the biggest political games in global negotiations.”

The EU negotiating committee also asked Dimitrov to coordinate the EU team in the next round of climate negotiations, occurring in May 2018.