The Implementation of EU Environmental Policies: Efficiency Issues


Alexandra Bültmann,
Dr. Frank Wätzold


EU-funded project in the framework of the Environment and Climate Programme


04/1998 − 08/2000


Implementation issues are currently high on the political agenda in the European Union given the amount of Directives adopted in the early 90's. This research project dealt with the description and the economic evaluation of the implementation processes of EU environmental Directives in the Member States. It attempted to answer questions such as: How are the environmental objectives of an environmental Directive modified during the implementation stage? What are the key differences between implementation processes of EU Directives in France and the UK? How does implementation affect the economic efficiency and the environmental effectiveness of a particular environmental policy?

The core of the project was twofold: Firstly, it was based on three case studies of the implementation processes of European Environmental Legislation: the Directive 89/429 regulating emissions of existing domestic waste incinerators, the Directive 88/609 about emissions of SO2 and NOX by Large Combustion Plants and the Council Regulation on EMAS, the European eco-auditing scheme. For each case, the characterisation and evaluation of their implementation processes was carried out in 4 EU countries (France, Germany, The Netherlands, United Kingdom). Secondly, two aspects of efficiency were investigated: the environmental effectiveness and the cost efficiency (administrative costs and pollution abatement costs). Next to results related to implementation performances, the policy oriented findings were the identification of possible implementation "best practices" and lessons for EU policy making given the diversity in national implementation styles.