On the Strategic Use of the Preliminary Reference System: Plausible Assumptions v. Empirical Reality
Title: On the Strategic Use of the Preliminary Reference System: Plausible Assumptions v. Empirical Reality
Author: SLEPCEVIC, Reinhard
Series/Report no.: EUI MWP; 2009/24
In this paper, I examine a central assumption of the neo-functionalist theory of European integration empirically: that interest groups use the preliminary reference system strategically in order to pursue their policy interests and to push European integration further. Focusing on EU environmental policy, I first analyse all preliminary references in this field and show that the pattern found cannot be explained by current theories. I then report the findings of expert interviews on the use of the preliminary reference system carried out with French, German and Dutch environmental organisations that have litigated before national courts to enforce the Natura 2000 Directives. I show that there is no evidence that environmental organisations use the preliminary reference system in a way suggested by neo-functionalist theory.
Subject: European Court of Justice; preliminary references; strategic litigation; environment; national courts
Type of Access: openAccess