Policy dismantling at EU level: Reaching the limits of ‘an ever-closer ecological union’?

Viviane Gravey, Andrew J. Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
181 Downloads (Pure)


Having explained their adoption, analysts are now trying to understand how EU environmental policies have subsequently evolved over time. In 2003, David Vogel famously speculated that having overtaken the US in the environmental race to the top, EU policies would also eventually succumb to policy gridlock, i.e. neither expanding nor dismantling. Empirical research has since confirmed that EU policy expansion is in decline, but less is known about why dismantling has also been very limited. This article breaks new ground by reconfiguring dismantling – a concept developed for national policy systems – to explain the various dismantling strategies deployed at EU level (1992 to 2016). It finds that the absence of significant dismantling is due both to the symbolic nature of early dismantling attempts and the failure of more recent attempts to build coalitions that overcome institutional obstacles to policy change in the EU.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-362
Number of pages14
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number2
Early online date09 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2020


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