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Steinebach, Yves and Knill, Christoph (2017): Still an entrepreneur? The changing role of the European Commission in EU environmental policy-making. In: Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 24, No. 3: pp. 429-446

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Research on policy dismantling has largely neglected the supranational level due to the expansionist nature of the European Union (EU) system. Yet, political claims to slow down, halt or even reverse the expansion of EU's regulatory scope has altered this premise in the aftermath of the 2008 and 2009 economic crisis. This article aims to extend our state of knowledge beyond theoretical expectations and mere political rhetoric. We provide an encompassing longitudinal analysis of EU policy outputs from 1980 to 2014 in the area of clean air and water protection policy. We find that the EU has entered an exceptionally long four-year period of almost complete regulatory inactivity after the year 2010. Thus, the observed patterns reveal a picture of passive policy dismantling by default. The European Commission largely accounts for this shift as it significantly decreased the number of new and ambitious policy proposals.

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