Strategies of Compliance: The Commission, the ECJ, the Member States and the Enforcement of EU law
02 / 2012 - 02 / 2015
Compliance with EU law is crucial for the effectiveness of European policies but cannot be taken for granted given the incentives that the member states face. The workings of the major instruments at the disposal of the EU to ensure compliance ? the infringement procedures ? presents a puzzle. On the one hand, it seems that the procedures are effective ? most cases are decided before the judiciary phase is even reached, and the Commission wins the overwhelming majority of cases. On the other hand, the academic literature on EU implementation uncovers a substantive gap in compliance. This project is build around a game-theoretic model that provides a solution to this puzzle ? once we take into account the strategic nature of the interactions between the Commission, the member states and the ECJ, the formal success of the infringement procedures and the large number of non-compliance cases not pursued by the Commission turn out to be the two side of the same coin ? in the model, they imply each other. Furthermore, the game-theoretical model provides novel and sometimes counter-intuitive hypotheses about the impact of the Commission?s administrative capacity, the size of the sanctions for non-compliance, the compliance costs and the priority of the case to the Commission on the probabilities of compliance and inspection. The project designs a combination of legal, qualitative and statistical empirical work that can test the conjectures advanced by the model and achieve the overall goals of the project ? to give an explanation of the state of compliance in the EU and to identify the major causal factors behind the patterns of enforcement over time and between countries and policy sectors.