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European Water Policy, Urban Environment and Governance

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Contact Monica Garcia Quesada (Postdoc Researcher), Ahmed Z. Khan (Supervisor)
Keywords Water, Urban policy-making, Enforcement, Compliance, Environmental policy, Sustainability

Project Summary

The effects of national enforcement on EU policy compliance: Implementing European water policy in four EU member states.

This research aims to advance our knowledge on the institutional factors that contribute to EU policy compliance. It seeks to examine whether and how national enforcement of EU law explains cross-national variations in compliance with EU law – as measured by EU institutions. Three main hypotheses will be tested concerning the magnitude of the potential sanctions, the resources available for enforcement and the actual use of the enforcement instruments. The enforcement of EU water directives in four EU member states – the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain – will be examined. The choice of this sector is warranted due to its policy relevance, as, with twelve EU Directives currently in force, it is one of the most highly developed EU regulatory areas, whereas the four countries represent two cases of good policy compliers versus two bad policy compliers. The research will examine the enforcement of these laws during the last 30 years, a period that covers critical developments in the adoption and expansion of EU water regulation, and will rely on comparative historical analysis and in process-tracing to assess how national enforcement matters for ensuring the adoption of EU law. This research expects to contribute to a fertile research agenda on EU enforcement and accountability that aims to integrate the analysis of the EU into the wider disciplines of comparative policies and public administration. 


This research is funded by:

The Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research F.R.S.-FNRS

Selected publications
Garcia Quesada, Monica (2015), "Beyond the privatisation debate: Water services governance in England and Scotland" Edited by Gawel, Erik, Die Governance der Wasserinfrastruktur, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin.

Garcia Quesada, Monica, Jiménez Sánchez, Fernando and Villoria, Manuel (2015) Can’t control/won’t control: opportunities and deterrents for local urban corruption in Lanzarote, Crime Law Social Change, Volume 63, Issue 1 pp 1-20.

Garcia Quesada, Monica. (2014) The EU as an enforcement patchwork, the impact of national enforcement in the adoption of EU water law in Spain and Britain. Journal of Public Policy, 34, 331-353.

Jiménez Sánchez, Fernando, Garcia Quesada, Monica, and Villoria, Manuel (2014) Integrity Systems, Values, and Expectations: Explaining Differences in the Extent of Corruption in Three Spanish Local Governments, International Journal of Public Administration, 37:2, 67-82.


Key references


Aubin, David. 2008. Asserted Rights, rule activation strategies in Water User Rivalries in Belgium and Switzerland. Journal of Public Policy 28 (2):207-227.


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Bovens, Mark, Curtis Deirdre and t'Hart, Paul. 2010. The Real World of EU Accountability: What Deficit?, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Börzel, Tanja A. 2002. Environmental Leaders and Laggards in Europe; Why There is (Not) a 'Southern Problem', London: Ashgate.

Cowles, Maria Green, and T. Risse, eds. 2001. Transforming Europe: Europeanization and domestic political change: Cornell University Press.

Demmke, Christoph, and Martin Unfried. 2001. European Environmental Policy: The Administrative Challenge for the Member States. Maastricht: European Institute of Public Administration.

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Treibb, Oliver. 2008. Implementing and Complying with Eu Governance Outputs. Living Reviews in European Governance (5),