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O'Mahony, Jane; Laffan, Brigid (2008)
Publisher: Routledge, Taylor and Francis
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: H
Why do some member states fail to comply with European Union (EU) environmental legislation? By focusing on the institutional factors relating to EU compliance, scholars have shown that a misfit between national administrative, legal and policy systems, traditions and practices can impede member state adoption of EU legislation. However, the concept of misfit on its own is not sufficient in order to explain delayed compliance. Actor-oriented perspectives have developed arguments about the crucial role domestic actors, and in particular veto-players, play in the implementation of EU directives. On occasion, misfit between the ‘national’ and the ‘European’ can seriously affect the interests of key domestic policy actors who have the resources to engage in a process of politicisation in order to ensure that the implementation of an EU directive conforms to their preferences. Such politicisation can give rise to delayed or even failed implementation if key actors fail to agree. The aim of this article is to focus on one such case of politicised compliance, namely, the implementation of the 1992 EU Habitats Directive in Ireland. As the contested implementation of the directive in Ireland shows, implementation can become politicised as domestic actors react to the institutional, legal and policy implications that emerge as a result of the need to comply with EU legislation. Successful adoption of EU environmental legislation subsequently results from a high degree of political management by EU and domestic policy actors negotiating across the EU’s multi-level governance arena.
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