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Title: Does the European Union have a reverse gear? : environmental policy dismantling, 1992-2014
Author: Gravey, Viviane
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 0535
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2016
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After decades of pushing for deregulation and regulatory reform in its Member States, has the European Union itself become a locus for policy dismantling – i.e. leading to a weakening of its policies? This thesis offers a first systematic study of policy dismantling at EU level. It focuses on environmental policies, an area in which EU action has repeatedly been criticised by politicians for harming competitiveness and not respecting national sovereignty. It combines for the first time insights from comparative politics studies of dismantling with EU governance literature, to offer a theoretical framework specially configured to explaining dismantling at EU level. It investigates which EU environmental policies have been targeted for policy dismantling, by whom, why and how, from the early 1990s to the end of the second Barroso Commission in 2014. It reveals how the EU has changed, from a driver of policy dismantling in its Member States to a locus of dismantling in its own right. Dismantling attempts (from the reduction of administrative burdens to the repatriation of competences) have been made by key EU actors – which for some, such as the European Commission, goes against the conventional wisdom in EU studies. These attempts have been justified in terms of criticisms of the EU’s legislative outputs – subsidiarity and proportionality – and of European integration itself. But they have not resulted in significant policy dismantling. Dismantling has been the least frequent outcome of legislative reform amongst the many pieces of legislation earmarked for dismantling. This pattern indicates the resilience – until now – of the EU’s “green state” (Klyza and Sousa, 2013), but dismantling attempts have markedly changed the way the EU legislates on environmental issues and further hindered policy expansion. This thesis contributes to the renaissance of dismantling studies in comparative politics by revealing how dismantling strategies and effects at EU level differ from the existing literature which focuses almost exclusively on nation states. Looking at the EU from a policy dismantling perspective, this thesis also questions foundational assumptions in EU studies – on what drives EU actors, on where the EU is headed. Finally it offers a different reading of the history of EU environmental policy, stressing the role that contestation in general, and dismantling in particular, have played in shaping the environmental acquis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available