Viviane Gravey

Viviane Gravey's picture

Staff Profiles

e-mail address
First Name
University of East Anglia
Current Position
PhD Researcher
Personal website

PhD Researchers Profile

Tyndall Research Theme
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 dis-

mantling 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 fi rst time insights

from comparative politics studies of dismantling with EU literatures on decision-

making, to o ffer 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 o ffers 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 Com-

mission, 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 be-

tween discourses and decisions on EU policies. This thesis also contributes to a

better understanding of policy dismantling in general: it highlights how disman-

tling dynamics di ers 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.


Member for
5 years 37 weeks
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