The Outlook for Compliance with EU Environmental Law: 'Pushing' for a Decentralised System of Complaints?
11 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2008 Last revised: 8 Jan 2009
Date Written: May 1, 2008
Recent studies on member states compliance with EU (environmental) legislation show that the European Union has a rather modest and stable compliance deficit being four the laggards: namely Italy, France, Belgium and Greece. In such a scenario, by relying on the pull-and-push model this paper seeks to investigate the extent to which a decentralized system of complaints might allow the Commission to reduce the levels of member states (especially laggards) non-compliance with EU environmental law. It is argued that a diminution in non-compliance levels of member states is more likely to occur if the Commission offer social actors much more attractive opportunity structures - such as decentralized structures for complaints procedure - in order to stimulate what I name as indirect pull factor. Thus, by providing a decentralized system of complaints the Commission can proactively impulse (a) higher levels of domestic societal mobilization (trough EU channels rather than domestic channels), (b) a reduction of the Commission's knowledge gap in gathering information for monitoring compliance, (c) a more efficient enforcement of compliance. Rather than looking for a general explanation, this paper looks at the pushing-for-indirect pull strategy as a possible way to improve the poor compliance records of member states.
Keywords: (Non-) Compliance, Complaints, Decentralization, Push-and-Pull, Indirect Pull
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