This article analyses European Union policy discourses on climate change from the point of view of constructions of identity. Articulated in a variety of policy-related genres, the EU rhetoric on climate change is approached as example of the Union’s international discourse, which, contrary to other areas of EU policy-making, relies strongly on discursive frameworks of international and global politics of climate change. As the article shows, the EU’s peculiar international – or even global – leadership in tackling the climate change is constructed in an ambivalent and highly heterogeneous discourse that runs along several vectors. While it on the one hand follows the more recent, inward-looking constructions of Europe known from the EU policy and political discourses of the 1990s and 2000s, it also revives some of the older discursive logics of international competition known from the earlier stages of the European integration. In the analysis, the article draws on the methodological apparatus of the Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA) in Critical Discourse Studies. Furthering the DHA studies of EU policy and political discourses, the article emphasises the viability of the discourse-historical methodology applied in the combined analysis of EU identity and policy discourses.

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