Edited by Sara Drake and Melanie Smith
Chapter 6: The effectiveness of transgovernmental networks: managing the practical application of European integration in the case of SOLVIT
The practical realization of European Union (EU) rights and obligations depends to a considerable extent on how national public authorities apply EU legislation in their daily work. A growing number of EU compliance studies have probed the transposition of EU law and discussed the importance and shortcomings of the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and national courts as central and decentralized enforcers. However, the practical application of EU rights and obligations remains rather unexplored. Drawing on survey data covering EU-27 and three EEA states participating in SOLVIT, an internal market problem-solving network, this paper investigates the role of transgovernmental networks in enforcing and managing the daily application of EU legislation by national authorities. We show that informal conflict resolution has become an important and effective tool for addressing misapplication of EU law. Anchored in national public administrations yet working under the ‘shadow of hierarchy’ (namely the Commission) transgovernmental networks are in fact able to improve the compliance of domestic authorities.
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