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The marathon of the hare and the tortoise: implementing the EU Water Framework Directive

Bourblanc M., Crabbé A., Liefferink D., Wiering M.. 2013. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 56 (10) : p. 1449-1467.

Reading the available evidence on the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), one gets the impression that some countries anticipate implementation problems by starting off pragmatically and with relatively low ambitions, while others make a quick and ambitious start and tend to slow down in later phases of the process. Inspired by Lundqvist's classical study of air pollution policy in the USA and Sweden, we assess the importance of some general characteristics of the respective political-institutional systems to explain differences in WFD implementation in four EU countries: Denmark, France, England/Wales and the Netherlands. We conclude, among other things, that visibility of the policy process, accountability of politicians and policy makers vis-à-vis their stakeholders and the EU, division of responsibilities for policy formulation vs. implementation and the involvement of the public explain the level of ambition in EU implementation to a considerable extent. Thus, the Lundqvist variables turn out to be useful for both classifying and explaining differences in EU implementation processes. (Résumé d'auteur)

Thématique : Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières

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