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


Author Info

  • Bernard Steunenberg

    (Leiden University, The Netherlands)


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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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by in its journal European Union Politics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 359-380

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Handle: RePEc:sae:eeupol:v:11:y:2010:i:3:p:359-380

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Keywords: commission monitoring; compliance with EU law; gatekeeper; implementation; infringements; member states' persuasion;


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