zer o_c omments

In the introduction to their still useful volume from 1997, Andersen/Liefferink maintain that after the northern EU enlargement, several environmental frontrunners have acceeded to the the EU. What makes this notworthy is the fact that there are now six "pioneers" in the Council, potentially wielding a blocking minority. This in turn means that the EU is, under qualified majority voting, unlikely to adopt any environmental regulation with a level of protection below what is preferred by the frontrunners, possibly circumventing the notorious "lowest common denominator" dynamic. Together, the pioneers can exercise collective leadership. However, Andersen/Liefferink (as many others, most prominently Héritier et al.) also profess that conflict over EU environmental policy more often than not is not only about the level of protection but also or even predominantly stems from the different national regulatory traditions and policy styles. This in turn means that environmental policies will be contentious also among the pioneers themselves who then are not able to form a united front in the council. The "shadow of the vote" (Weiler) is no longer a credible threat. Thus, from a purely council-centric perspective the EU will only be able to adopt ambitious and innovative environmental protection policies when the pioneers can find viable solutions which are compatible with their varying domestically entrenched poliy legacies.

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