Multi-level governance systems like the European Union (EU) calibrate integration with member state discretion in order to implement common, yet context-sensitive solutions to shared policy problems. Research on implementation in the EU typically focuses on legal compliance with EU policy. However, this focus gives us an incomplete picture of EU implementation, its diversity and practice. The contributions of this collection represent a shift toward a more performance-oriented perspective on EU implementation as problem-solving. They approach implementation fundamentally as a process of interpretation of superordinate law by actors who are embedded within multiple contexts arising from the coexistence of dynamics of Europeanization, on the one hand, and what has been termed ‘domestication’, on the other. Moving beyond legal compliance, the contributions provide new evidence on the diversity of domestic responses to EU policy, the roles and motivations of actors implementing EU policy, and the ‘black box’ of EU law in action and its enforcement. By reassessing the relative importance of EU policy and domestic factors and actors for the outcomes of EU implementation, the results give insight into on the nuanced interplay between Europeanization and domestication forces, useful for both EU researchers and practitioners.
The chapters originally published as a special issue in the Journal of European Public Policy.
1. Moving beyond legal compliance: innovative approaches to EU multilevel implementation
Eva Thomann and Fritz Sager
2. Moving beyond (non-)compliance: the customization of European Union policies in 27 countries
Eva Thomann and Asya Zhelyazkova
3. Guardians of EU law? Analysing roles and behaviour of Dutch legislative drafters involved in EU compliance
4. Policy implementation through multi-level governance: analysing practical implementation of EU air quality directives in Germany
Judith A.M. Gollata and Jens Newig
5. Europe at the frontline: analysing street-level motivations for the use of European Union migration law
6. Mind the trend! Enforcement of EU law has been moving to ‘Brussels’
7. Strategies in multilevel policy implementation: moving beyond the limited focus on compliance
Eva G. Heidbreder
8. Toward a better understanding of implementation performance in the EU multilevel system
Eva Thomann and Fritz Sager
This series seeks to bring together some of the finest edited works on European Public Policy. Reprinting from Special Issues of the Journal of European Public Policy, the focus is on using a wide range of social sciences approaches, both qualitative and quantitative, to gain a comprehensive and definitive understanding of Public Policy in Europe.