Implementation of European policy
Leiden experts research ways in which European legislation is converted into national legislation. Knowing how this process works can inspire policy-makers trying to achieve their aims while abiding to Europan legislation.
In the Netherlands, just as in other member states, we have to deal with the effects of European regulations. It is often left to the member states themselves to implement these regulations, and local authorities, such as municipalities, water boards and provinces, generally play a role in this process. Converting European legislation into national legislation and implementing it are important themes for researchers in Leiden.
Knowing how this process works gives policy-makers an understanding of the approaches taken in different countries. It can inspire alternative ways of achieving the same aims, and can also give insight into the question of whether European rules are applied everywhere with the same rigorousness. That’s important for citizens, for example with regard to food safety or internet purchases, but also for Dutch companies operating on the European market.
In practice, there are often problems. Even when regulations have actually been implemented, they are by no means always implemented or maintained adequately. Leiden researchers examine the background to instances of ‘non-compliance’, because you can only find the right solution once you understand what the problems are with converting regulations to the national situation and implementing them nationally.
Political games and the media
European policy is made in Brussels. Researchers at the Institute of Public Administration study this decision-making process in order to gain greater insight into the process and the outcome of political negotiations. Bernard Steunenberg, Professor of Public Administration, explains that attention is paid not only to the political game, but also to the influence that interest groups and the media have.
This kind of research makes the often incomprehensible European decision-making easier to understand, and can also be useful for political negotiators and the general public. It gives everyone who has anything to do with EU policy the chance to understand how that policy is made and how they can exercise influence over it, via societal organisations or their own government.
National traffic lights?
The adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon focused greater attention on the role of national parliaments in the EU. National parliaments can make it more difficult for the Commission to introduce draft legislation by holding up a ‘yellow card’.
Not only this, national parliaments are also increasingly involved in the European dossiers, a development that generates more discussion at national level. Research is now examining how that plays out at European level. Does it strengthen legitimacy? And does it also lead to a different division of tasks between Europe and national governments? This research plays a role in strengthening the position of European citizens.