Table of Contents

Environmental Governance and Decentralisation

Environmental Governance and Decentralisation

New Horizons in Environmental Economics series

Edited by Albert Breton, Giorgio Brosio, Silvana Dalmazzone and Giovanna Garrone

This book examines how different countries define and address environmental issues, specifically in relation to intergovernmental relations: the creation of institutions, the assignment of powers, and the success of alternative solutions. It also investigates whether a systemic view of the environment has influenced the policy-making process. The broad perspective adopted includes a detailed analysis of seventeen countries in six continents by scholars from a range of disciplines – economics, political science, environmental science and law – thus producing novel material that moves away from the conventional treatment of decentralisation and the environment in economic literature.

Chapter 6: European Union: Shifting Environmental Governance to the Supranational Level

Anthony R. Zito

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, public sector economics, environment, environmental economics, environmental governance and regulation


Anthony R. Zito 1. INTRODUCTION Compared to most of the other political systems covered in this book, the European Union (EU) and its First Pillar, the European Community (EC), is a political system undergoing rapid institutional change in terms of structure and membership.1 This situation of institutional change has increased with the accession of 2 more member states (with radically varying histories and experiences of governance and environmental protection) on 1 January 2007. The EU’s relative youth and continual evolution, combined with the relative youth of the environmental policy area, suggests a number of plausible hypotheses about EC environmental governance. For instance, this system should be more open to different actor coalitions; more innovation should be possible given the relatively shorter opportunity for entrenched interests to capture the system and the fact that the EU member states foster their own policy innovation. The reality is much more complex than these hypotheses, however. The process may see innovative policy proposals but the crucial range of instruments is largely traditional. Compared to some EU policy areas, there are less well defined and fluid opposing coalitions, but this opposition to specific proposals can be wide-ranging and embedded in the policy process while the pro-environmental constituency can be fluid and ineffectual. This chapter examines this complex landscape, focusing on several core governance tensions operative in the EC environmental process. Compared to other EC environmental governance overviews (for example Weale et al., 2000; Lenschow, 1999; Butt Phillip, 1998), this chapter adopts...

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