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Pre-accession europeanisation: The strategic realignment of the environmental policy systems of Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia towards agricultural pollution in preparation for EU membership

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Matthew Gorton, Professor Philip Lowe

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Abstract

The divergent responses of three CEECs - Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia - to the common evolution of problems of agriculturally induced water pollution into matters of international concern is analysed from the end of their communist regimes to accession to the European Union (EU) in 2004. The early years of transition were characterised by an emerging international socialisation of domestic elites with Western academics and policy networks. These networks presented opportunities for norm entrepreneurs, who sought to draw attention to the problem of agriculturally induced water pollution and realign domestic policy. The success of these norm entrepreneurs depended on the positions they held in elite networks, their state's geo-political concerns and desires for international legitimacy, and the degree to which productionist interests were entrenched in agricultural ministries. In contrast, the late 1990s and early 2000s were dominated by preparations for EU membership, particularly adoption of the acquis communautaire. While the CEECs had no option but to transpose EU directives into domestic legislation, the nature of directives has meant that they have had considerable leeway in terms of the administrative solutions chosen. This is illustrated by the Nitrates Directive; the three countries studied have adopted markedly different responses and sought expertise from established Member States that closely matched their own outlook. Arguments that the CEECs are en masse environmental laggards or merely passive players in the process of Europeanisation are rejected.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Gorton M, Lowe P, Zellei A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sociologia Ruralis

Year: 2005

Volume: 45

Issue: 3

Pages: 202-223

ISSN (print): 0038-0199

ISSN (electronic): 1467-9523

Publisher: Wiley

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9523.2005.00301.x

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9523.2005.00301.x


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