Is big brother watching? Commission oversight of the national implementation of EU directives

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Series Details Vol.11, No.3, September 2010, p359-380
Publication Date September 2010
ISSN 1465-1165
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Abstract: In this article I analyse the role of the European Commission in monitoring the transposition and implementation of EU Directives. The point of departure is that the Commission, like any political actor, has policy preferences that affect how it shapes its overseeing role. The Commission’s responses may vary between being ‘the guardian of the treaties’, not allowing for any changes, and a ‘silent witness’, permitting member states to set their own, deviating national policies. These different responses are consistent with empirical findings showing that the Commission is rather selective in starting infringement procedures. ‘Big brother is watching’ the member states, but this is evident only when interests clash and the Commission receives sufficient support from the European Court of Justice or the other member states.

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