Subnational regions matter : implementing EU environmental policies in Scotland and Bavaria
With over 280 environmental laws designed to regulate economic activities and tackle pollution problems, EU actors have established an impressive environmental policy. While policy-making has been impressive, implementation has often been disappointing with the result that EU environmental policy now suffers from an 'implementation deficit' whereby policy intentions on paper are not carried out properly 'on the ground'. Until recently, many EU actors and analysts have focused on the initial stages of the policy process, in particular the dynamics of bargaining between Member States. Yet, the overall effectiveness of EU environmental policies depends upon actors 'on the ground' and how they apply the policies in practice. This research moves away from the conventional state-centrist approach and focuses instead on the subnational regions and their role in the overall success of EU environmental policies. The research investigates Scotland and Bavaria and assesses to what extent the two regions shape EU environmental policy implementation. To help with the investigation, the research establishes a 'multi-layered implementation map' which best captures the policy 'filtering' process. The map helps identify formal and informal determinants within the layers which either facilitate or obstruct policy implementation. The research not only compares implementation performances between the Member States and between the regions, it also compares the regions vertically with their 'mother' states and thereby highlights implementation obstacles which would remain undetected with the state-centrist approach. A case study illustrates in detail the formal and practical implementation of the EIA Directive in Scotland and Bavaria. The study confirms that subnational regions feature determinants which differ in many respects from national determinants and influence the effectiveness of EU environmental policies. By highlighting subnational regions and their role in the process, the research contributes to a better understanding of the implementation deficit and presents a more refined picture of the EU environmental policy 'reality'.