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The Transposition of EU Law: ‘Post-Decisional Politics’ and Institutional Autonomy

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The transposition of European Union (EU) law into national law is a significant part of the EU policy process. However, political scientists have not devoted to it the attention that it deserves. Here, transposition is construed as part of the wider process of policy implementation. Drawing on implementation theory from the field of public policy, the article outlines three sets of factors (institutional, political, and substantive) that affect transposition. Second, the article examines the manner in which eight member states transpose EU legislation, and identifies a European style of transposition. An institutionalist approach is employed to argue that this style is not the result of a process of convergence. Rather, it stems from the capacity of institutions to adapt to novel situations by means of their own standard operating procedures and institutional repertoires. It concludes by highlighting (a) the partial nature of efforts at EU level to improve transposition, themselves impaired by the politics of the policy process and (b) some ideas regarding future research.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford

Publication date: December 1, 2001


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