Implementation, a modest process with grand implications: What the implementation of a climate directive can reveal about integration

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European integration is perceived as a grand project, although it also affects day-to-day policies. Grand theories attempt to explain the entire integration process but seem to overlook the incorporation of integration's outcomes. This thesis argues that policy implementation is a logical extension of integration, which may reveal some of the nature of integration. The missing link between two theoretical levels provides a puzzle that needs to be solved. This thesis attempts to solve this puzzle by doing a congruence analysis and testing factors provided by three implementation approaches (management-, enforcement-, and legitimacy-), linking them to the grand theoretical contexts of Postfunctionalism and Liberal Intergovernmentalism. By analysing the factors that influence a country's implementation effort, this paper attempts to draw meaningful conclusions about integration. The cases used for this analysis are the implementation processes of the National Emission reduction Commitments Directive (NEC) in Belgium and the Netherlands. Ultimately, this study observes that implementation of- and compliance with policy adhere primarily to the enforcement approach, with elements of the management approach and a few features from the legitimacy approach. These findings strengthen the liberal intergovernmentalist framework of domestic preference formation with mainly economic interests. Although not conclusively because factors that better fit the postfunctionalist framework also provide a partial explanation for implementation effort. Keywords: European integration, policy implementation, liberal intergovernmentalism, postfunctionalism, environment, Belgium, The Netherlands
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen