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Protecting the Environment. Transnational Networks in the Emergence of a new EC Policy in the 1970s (ENTRANET)
Start date: Jun 1, 2008, End date: May 31, 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The proposed research project sets out to describe and explain the establishment of an environmental policy at the EC level in the 1970s that eventually led to its incorporation into the treaties with the Single European Act in 1987. It seeks to elicit why and how it was possible to institutionalise a new policy area at the level of the European Community that had not originally been foreseen in the Rome Treaties. This development is even more puzzling, because environmental policy was very different in its thrust – addressing adverse consequences of growth – whereas the EEC Treaty focused on economic modernisation and prosperity. Contrary to traditional state-centric accounts of European integration history, the guiding hypothesis of this project is that informal networks of actors coalesced to shape and institutionalise the new policy agenda. These networks comprised supranational actors like the European Commission, some member-states and also non-governmental actors like the environmental movement, which set up the European Environmental Bureau in Brussels as early as 1974, and scientists providing expertise. The project will focus on the early years of European environmental policy, examining the emergence of the policy network in the context of the First and Second Environmental Action Programmes of 1973 and 1977, based on sources from European, national and NGO archives and interviews. The goal is to map and analyse the emerging policy network, conceptually informed by policy network approaches from the social sciences. For the first time, this research will provide in-depth knowledge about the origins of EC/EU environmental policy. Studying networks the project will not only contribute to a decisive conceptual innovation in European integration history. It will also provide important new insights into the establishment of the specific patterns of policy making and governance that continue to shape the present-day EU."
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