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Josine Polak and Esther Versluis

Networked cooperation has come to be seen as an important governance instrument for improving implementation of international law. The current study presents new empirical evidence on the functioning of networks in the implementation of EU directives on product safety, air safety, and pollution prevention. Based on 28 interviews with participants of networks, this study illustrates that, while interdependence may motivate cooperation, the perception of a network as informal is the determining factor for it to be perceived to add benefit. Informality opens up opportunities for mutual learning to occur, mutual trust to flourish, and resource sharing and conflict resolution to take place.

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Miroslava Scholten, Martino Maggetti and Esther Versluis

The focus of this chapter is on the shift of direct enforcement power from the national to the European Union (EU) level (‘verticalization’) and accountability in this new system of shared enforcement. Has the shift of direct enforcement power been accompanied by the establishment of an appropriate accountability system? What have we learned about accountability for enforcement, including in a multi-level setting? Based on the comparative insights of the legal frameworks of all EU Enforcement Authorities and relevant national enforcement authorities, it shows that political accountability for enforcement tasks is overall quite weak. While the overall degree of accountability of EEAs is not very high, in some types of relationships it is higher than in others. The powerful EEAs are formally more accountable, although they are so mostly by judicial means. The chapter concludes with highlighting three challenges to accountability in shared enforcement – those which limit/restrict the scope of political accountability; those which hinder/weaken execution of accountability; and those which undermine the very existence of accountability – and directions for necessary further research in the emerging field of shared enforcement in the EU.