New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Albert Breton, Giorgio Brosio, Silvana Dalmazzone and Giovanna Garrone
Chapter 6: European Union: Shifting Environmental Governance to the Supranational Level
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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