The Politics Of Non-compliance: Why Member States Litigate Against The EU Commission
With the intensification of EU integration, the probability of implementation conflicts between member states and the Commission increases. Cases of national resistance to supranational enforcement actions have gained importance, as shown by the increase in member states’ use of litigation against the Commission’s measures via annulment actions. What is, however, still puzzling is the conditions under which member state governments engage in litigation and when do they dutifully obey to Commission’s implementation demands. Drawing from different branches of the literature, we identify three possible litigation rationales: the desire of member states governments (1) to maximize material resources, (2) to defend decision-making competences, and (3) to maximise the political trust that citizens and institutional partners have in them. We assess the relevance of these litigation rationales based on recent cases of annulment actions raised against the Commission by national or regional governments in Spain and in Germany. We find that all three litigation rationales play a major role in explaining the recourse to litigation. National governments decide to go to court when litigation can contribute to maximising their material resources, decision-making competences and political trust.
Emmanuelle Mathieu is a postdoctoral research fellow at the German Research Institute for Public Administration (Speyer, Germany), where she works on the judicialization of policy implementation conflicts in the EU. She is visiting research fellow at IBEI. She completed her PhD at the European University Institute (Florence) on regulatory governance in the EU. Prior to this, she worked at the University of Louvain on multi-level regulatory governance of network industries. Her work focusses on the governance and implementation of regulatory policies in multi-level settings, with a particular emphasis on telecommunications and energy regulation.