Loughborough University
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Policy-making in the European Union: the role of policy networks in EU environmental policy

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posted on 2010-11-05, 09:56 authored by Julie Robinson
Research into the European Union (EU) increasingly focuses on the policy-making processes which take place within the EU, as distinct from trying to explain or predict the broad phenomenon of European integration. This thesis adopts a similar focus on EU policy-making. Policy-making in the EU is examined using a policy network approach. The main aim of the thesis is to assess how useful the policy network approach is as a means of explaining EU policy processes and policy outputs. The policy network approach is therefore applied not simply as a mechanism for describing patterns of interest intermediation but, rather, as a tool for explaining a new form of network governance in the EU. The thesis therefore aims to test the claims of the policy network literature that it can better account for policy-making in the EU than can more traditional approaches derived either from international relations (IR) or comparative politics (CP). The thesis applies a policy network approach to the study of EU environmental policy-making. Three case studies - on air quality, landfill and drinking water legislation - are examined, in order to assess whether a policy network approach can help explain the development of EU policy in these areas. Overall the thesis finds a useful role for policy network analysis in helping to explain EU policymaking and policy outputs. At the same time, however, the thesis confirms the limitations of the policy network approach at EU-level. Policy network analysis must therefore be combined with both IR and CP approaches in order to gain a fuller understanding of how EU policy is made.



  • Social Sciences


  • Politics and International Studies


© Julie Robinson

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en