Viviane Gravey

University of East Anglia

Current Position

Duration of your PhD

Thesis's Supervisor
Professor Andrew Jordan


My Thesis' Abstract
Environmental policy dismantling in the European Union?

Policy dismantling is conventionally assumed to target domestic social policies.
Students of EU environmental policies have hence focused on other challenges such as implementation problems and obstacles to further expansion. But this thesis argues that the time is ripe for a rst study of environmental policy dismantling at EU level: new developments in policy dismantling theory highlight how regulations can, as well as redistributive polices, be targeted for dismantling; EU environmental policies have been repeatedly criticised since the early 1990s for diminishing Member States' sovereignty and competitiveness and, last but not least, the possibility of environmental policy dismantling at EU level is crucially at odds with the EU's image as a pro-green power.
Policy dismantling  i.e. weakening policies or policy instruments  is as yet an uncharted territory at EU level. This thesis combines for the first time insights from comparative politics studies of dismantling with EU literatures on decision-making, to offer an original theoretical framework suited to dismantling studies at EU level. It investigates which EU environmental policies have been targeted by policy dismantling measures, by whom, why and how, over the course of four theory-led empirical chapters. The empirical section opens with three qualitative case studies focusing on three periods of great criticism for EU green policies (the subsidiarity crisis in the 1990s, the search for Better Regulation in the 2000s, and austerity since 2008) and the strategies actors used to undermine them. The nal empirical chapter focuses on how policy outputs have evolved over the long run -- looking back at policies targeted for dismantling from 1990 to 2012.
This study offers a novel history of EU environmental policies, questioning the simple tale of permanent, if recently sluggish, expansion. Dismantling attempts have been made by key EU actors -- which for some, such as the European Commission, goes against conventional wisdom on the EU. Most of these attempts have failed, which shows both the resilience of EU policies and the great gap between discourses and decisions on EU policies. This thesis also contributes to a better understanding of policy dismantling in general: it highlights how dismantling dynamics diers from other opposition tactics (e.g. non-implementation), how salience infuences strategical choices and questions how dismantling takes place in a multi-level governance system.

Contact information