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"(Non-)Compliance, EU Commission; Enforcement and Differing National Responses"

Hartlapp, Miriam. (2005) "(Non-)Compliance, EU Commission; Enforcement and Differing National Responses". In: UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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    [Summary - document has no additional text]. What happens when member states do not comply with EU law? To answer this question, the role of the EU Commission as guardian of the treaties demands particular attention, especially the instruments it may employ, and the enforcement policy it actually pursues, against member states that violate binding EU rules. Our qualitative data on how fifteen member states have transposed a sample of six EU social policy Directives allows us to confront the Commission’s enforcement policy with the "real" amount of domestic transposition failures. We thus challenge the approach taken by much of the existing literature, which looks at the tip of the iceberg only by restricting itself to the analysis of available data on EU infringement procedures. This allows us to reject or validate some of the most dominant assumptions in this literature about the logics of Commission enforcement policy. We show that enforcement often does not take place at all or does not take place in a consistent manner when compared to the Commission’s own rules. Moreover, we demonstrate that the Commission heavily focuses on non-notification rather than on incorrect transposition. One of the explanations is that infringement procedures are constrained by the length and complexity of the Commision’s internal procedures. Although our data suggest significant diversity in the treatment of different member states, we argue that this is not the result of political favouritism but of the necessity to prioritise some cases over others under the conditions of administrative overload. Our sample shows that these prioritisations often follow different Directives. It seems that the choice is made largely by the responsible unit and depends on its workload, the complexity of the Directive, and the overall importance attached to the respective policy. Furthermore, we show that neither the general level of labour law protection, nor the level of misfit with pre-existing national policies, nor opposition during the negotiations determine the Commission’s enforcement policy – even though the last factor does have some influence. Finally, we discuss kick-start, acceleration and correction as different effects that infringement procedures had in the implementation processes under scrutiny. Overall we conclude that infringement proceedings as they are practised today are a rather inadequate instrument for assuring compliance, even though the situation would be even worse if there were none at all.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Transposition; compliance; non-compliance.
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > European Commission
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > law & legal affairs-general (includes international law) > compliance/national implementation
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2005 (9th), March 31-April 2, 2005
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2005
    Page Range: p. 6
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:25

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