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Germany, Europe, and the Politics of Constraint$
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Kenneth Dyson and Klaus Goetz

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262955

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262955.001.0001

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Environmental Policy: A Leader State under Pressure?

Environmental Policy: A Leader State under Pressure?

(p.289) 14 Environmental Policy: A Leader State under Pressure?
Germany, Europe, and the Politics of Constraint

Rüdiger K. W. Wurzel

British Academy

This chapter discusses the impact of European integration on German environmental policy. For much of the 1980s, Germany acted as an ‘environmental leader’ state, successfully exporting to the EU level some of its standards, instruments, and regulatory approaches. In consequence, the Europeanization process was largely taken for granted by most domestic environmental policy actors. Overall, the Europeanization of the German environmental policy system has been an incremental and relatively subtle process that began in the 1970s, although its full implications did not become apparent until the 1980s. In the 1990s, Germany lost much of its ‘environmental leader’ status and came under pressure from the EU to reform its environmental policy system. At the beginning of the 21st century, Germany remains an ‘environmental leader’ state that pushes for stringent EU environment policy measures on air pollution control issues in particular. However, it has taken on a defensive position with regard to the EU's recent procedural measures, which have caused considerable domestic adaptational pressures. Overall, the Europeanization process has had a highly variegated effect on German environmental policy. Deeply engrained institutional structures and regulatory styles have been affected to a lesser extent than the substantive policy content.

Keywords:   German environmental policy, Europeanization, air pollution control

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