Does the European Union have a reverse gear? Environmental policy dismantling, 1992-2014

Gravey, Viviane (2016) Does the European Union have a reverse gear? Environmental policy dismantling, 1992-2014. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Abstract
After decades of pushing for deregulation and regulatory reform in its Member States,
has the European Union itself become a locus for policy dismantling – i.e. leading to a
weakening of its policies?
This thesis offers a first systematic study of policy dismantling at EU level. It focuses
on environmental policies, an area in which EU action has repeatedly been criticised by
politicians for harming competitiveness and not respecting national sovereignty. It combines
for the first time insights from comparative politics studies of dismantling with EU
governance literature, to offer a theoretical framework specially configured to explaining
dismantling at EU level. It investigates which EU environmental policies have been targeted
for policy dismantling, by whom, why and how, from the early 1990s to the end of
the second Barroso Commission in 2014.
It reveals how the EU has changed, from a driver of policy dismantling in its Member
States to a locus of dismantling in its own right. Dismantling attempts (from the reduction
of administrative burdens to the repatriation of competences) have been made by key EU
actors – which for some, such as the European Commission, goes against the conventional
wisdom in EU studies. These attempts have been justified in terms of criticisms of the
EU’s legislative outputs – subsidiarity and proportionality – and of European integration
itself. But they have not resulted in significant policy dismantling. Dismantling has been
the least frequent outcome of legislative reform amongst the many pieces of legislation
earmarked for dismantling. This pattern indicates the resilience – until now – of the EU’s
“green state” (Klyza and Sousa, 2013), but dismantling attempts have markedly changed
the way the EU legislates on environmental issues and further hindered policy expansion.
This thesis contributes to the renaissance of dismantling studies in comparative politics
by revealing how dismantling strategies and effects at EU level differ from the existing
literature which focuses almost exclusively on nation states. Looking at the EU from a
policy dismantling perspective, this thesis also questions foundational assumptions in EU
studies – on what drives EU actors, on where the EU is headed. Finally it offers a different
reading of the history of EU environmental policy, stressing the role that contestation in
general, and dismantling in particular, have played in shaping the environmental acquis.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Vailele Chittock
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2016 09:46
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2016 09:46
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/59419
DOI:

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