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What can the study of EU environmental policy tell us about EU governance?

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  1. Introduction
  2. EU environmental policy
  3. EU governance
  4. What can the study of EU environmental policy tell us about EU governance?
  5. Analysis
  6. Conclusion

Although it was not at the core of the EU integration, the environmental policy is nowadays at the heart of the EU policy-making and governance. This regulatory policy relies on the statement that all human actions have an impact (positive or negative) on the environment. Recognized as useful and legitimated by several polls (Lenschowand Sprungk, 2010, pp. 144-47) the EU environmental policy is, at the EU level, to monitor human activities against harmful actions regarding the environment and to promote good use of natural resources (McCormick, 2001 page 21). Environmental changes ruled by the TFUE (article 4), this policy is so sophisticated and structured, that it can be part of the acquis communautaire of EU membership. The ?Governance' concept appeared in the 1980s with the neoliberal turn and became part of EU studies in the 1990s. In the White Paper on Governance, The Commission defined EU governance as ?rules, processes and behavior that affect the way in which powers are exercised at European level, particularly as regards openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence.' (European Commission, 2001, page 8).

Beyond the Government concept, the governance tries initially to capture the complexity of public action. Indeed, since the 1980s, public action transformation were boosted and scholars had developed numerous studies about conceptions, theories and impacts of the Governance (Kohler-Boch and Rittberger, 2006).Although, every scholar ?agree to disagree' about delimiting the Governance concept, it appears that this process is like the ?privatization of public action' and a hierarchy decomposition in the political arena. Eventually market strategies influenced political actions concepts and paradigms like accountability, transparency, public participation or openness (Heldeweg, 2005). Even more, ?Governing without government' at the EU level is accurate because obviously supranational policies are different from domestic policies.

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