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The endeavour of policy implementation


Reaching the visions will in many cases imply the need of policy intervention. In the VOLANTE project, drivers of landscape change were assessed for different environmental zones in Europe. Meetings with central stakeholders highlighted the major processes occurring and two major drivers stood out: economical (global economic market) and policy drivers. It is, however, important to acknowledge that implementing EU policies (transposition, administrative implementation, enforcement, and application) is not always a smooth process, and barriers can be rooted in a number of aspects, including the institutional and political situation in the member states. Some studies observe that different general compliance patterns can be found for groups of member states – ranging from “rule abiding” countries that in general make an effort to implement EU policies in spite of domestic barriers, while transposition in another group of countries depends more strongly on the domestic policy context and the extent to which the directive aligns with this. A third group of countries is reluctant or economically restrained in EU policy implementation, which may turn into a long and foot-dragging experience, sometimes to be coerced by the judgment of the European Court of Justice. Also, governance frameworks set up in EU policies may not fit to the existing domestic frameworks (so-called misfits) and adaptations may need to take place. Overcoming these to some extent seems to depend on the compliance culture (Figure 11).

 figure 11

Figure 11 EU Policies meet a national context of compliance cultures and governance structures and thus may have different effects at subnational level

Concerning local level implementation, policies related to land use often rely on land owners participating in voluntary schemes or local authorities’ competences in EU project participation. Barriers to participation include lack of information, fear of bureaucracy and risks of sanctions in case of non-compliance with conditions, and the fact that subsidy do not always compensate for the income foregone or the extra effort required. Therefore effective communication, reduction of administrative burden for the land owner and adequate compensation levels are important. Furthermore, special attention is needed to cater for different needs of different land-owner types (e.g. full-time farmers and non-farmers have different management goals and response patterns) and different local and regional contexts (e.g. land use drivers and land pressure vary between peri-urban and remote rural areas). The effects of human behaviour as part of the governance process should be taken into due considerartion. Easing the way to EU funding of nature conservation projects for local authorities is also an issue.

The above considerations apply in different variations for each of the consolidated visions, as illustrated in the following sections.


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