The Impact of the European Union on Environmental Policies

Markus Haverland

in The Politics of Europeanization

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780199252091
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599224 | DOI:
 The Impact of the European Union on Environmental Policies

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Focusing on environmental policies, this chapter aims to contribute to the debate on the politics of Europeanization by presenting the conceptual and theoretical state of the art of research into this specific sector of potential European Union (EU) impact on domestic political systems. The chapter first provides some background information on the essential properties of environmental policy and on the development of EU environmental policy; this is done to explicate the defining characteristics of this sector vis-é-vis other sectors. Next, three recent comparative case studies on the determinants of national adaptation to EU environmental policy requirements are reviewed; these are theoretically informed by either sociological institutionalism or rational choice institutionalism, and arrive at different and partially competing explanations for the variation in national adaptation to European environmental policies. Despite disagreement about the relative importance of the factors and mechanisms of Europeanization, the results of the comparative case studies offer elements for a theory about the conditions of policy adaptation and, by implication, about convergence. Building upon these findings, elements are suggested for a future research agenda based on theoretically informed comparative case studies that gradually include new policy sectors and countries; in addition, the use of counterfactual arguments is proposed to isolate the causal impact of the European Union.

Keywords: case studies; convergence; environmental policies; European Union; Europeanization; national adaptation; policy adaptation; rational choice institutionalism; research; sociological institutionalism

Chapter.  8306 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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