Handbook of European Policies
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Handbook of European Policies

Interpretive Approaches to the EU

Edited by Hubert Heinelt and Sybille Münch

This definitive Handbook addresses the current lack of research into European policymaking and development using an interpretive perspective. Questioning areas that mainstream approaches tend to neglect, contributors target the ways in which ideas, arguments and discourses shape policies in the institutional context of the EU.
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Chapter 11: EU environmental policy

Miranda A. Schreurs


The European Union has become a leader in environmental protection through its efforts to move Europe in the direction of a low carbon, resource-efficient economy which stresses the importance of sustainable development. The EU environmental project is challenging the status quo and pushing for the development of a fairer, more ecologically sensitive form of capitalism. There is widespread support for this transition, but at times there is also opposition to specific policies from some member states or industrial or other interest group. The elaborate body of EU environmental laws may even have played a role in the Brexit decision for, at least some, voters. This contribution examines the different ways in which the EU’s increasingly comprehensive and precautionary approach to environmental protection is portrayed and reacted to by various groups within the highly complex decision-making process which characterizes EU environmental policymaking.

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