International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Why Greece Does (Not) Comply with EU Environmental Acquis: The Case of Renewable Energy Sources Policy Deployment in Euboea
Sifis Plimakis, Nikos Papadakis, Ioannis Manolis

The purpose of this article is twofold. On the one hand, it evaluates the EU impact on national environmental policy and the domestic response to the external pressure. On the other hand, it aims to shed some light on the fundamental problems of Greece that keep this country lagging behind. Problematic implementation and poor performance constitute systemic characteristics of the Greek case. Government’s unwillingness to bear the costs of implementation of EU Directives has been classified by many studies as the main factor responsible for implementation deficit. Greece is a ‘laggard’ country on environmental issues (Sbragia 1996) and therefore lacking capacity to ‘upload’ national policies to EU level. The bigger the ‘misfit’ between EU and national policy, the higher the adaptational cost for implementation and the lower the willingness of governments to comply (Boerzel 2005). Nevertheless, compatibility is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for compliance. What happens though when government is willing to comply with EU obligations? By examining the actual implementation of the 2001/77/EC Directive on the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources, it will be shown that political will does make little sense. This article argues that effective implementation is not simply a matter of political will but of institutional and administrative capacity as well as of social acceptability.

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