This article focuses on the emergence of a decentralized institutional complex, interplay management, and the institutional interplay between the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the EU in the issue area of environmental shipping policies. It shows that the synergistic relationship between both institutions has been driven primarily by commitment and compliance mechanisms. By influencing IMO decision-making and improving the implementation and effectiveness of IMO conventions, the EU has become a driving force in international environmental shipping policies, and its new initiatives may even enhance its leadership role within the IMO in the future. Despite the still-existing lack of cognitive leadership by the EU, the synergies between both institutions provide evidence for the EU's leadership capacities in global environmental politics.

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