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Other projects

The members of EUROPAL participate in a broad range of research projects. A selection of our closed projects and more information about them are listed here:

After implementation: feedback of implementation experiences 2013/18
Beyond Legal Compliance with EU Law 2016/18
Building a new Europe (BNE): The causes and consequences of ‘integration by stealth’ 2014/19
Closing the regulatory cycle? Ex-post legislative evaluation in the European Union 2013/18
ESTRANCA (Emergence and Significance of Transnational Long-Term Care Arrangements) 2016/19
Ideas and Legitimating Discourse in EU and US Agricultural Policy-Making 2016/19
Implementation of EU directives 2013/18
It takes two to tango. The preliminary reference dance between the Court of Justice of the European Union and national courts 2017/21
Pioneers, Leaders and Followers in Multilevel and Polycentric Climate Governance’ 2016/18
Preparing for Brexit: A game-based exploration of the potential negotiation strategies 2017
Strengthening And Redesigning European FLOOD risk practices 2012/16
The implementation of the Water Framework Directive 2017/18
Understanding Responsiveness in European Union Politics 2017/20

Understanding Responsiveness in European Union Politics

Duration: 2017/2020

The key ingredient of democratic legitimacy of political decision-making is whether political actors respond to the demands and preferences of the public. Consequently, our basic understanding of policy responsiveness lies in the connection between citizen preferences in relation to specific policies, on the one hand, and the policy outcomes induced by government institutions, on the other hand. Judged against this backdrop, the European Union (EU) is an unlikely case of responsiveness. First, the European Union lacks a common “demos” where EU citizens deliberate on the EU policy outcomes and form coherent policy positions regarding the desirability of EU policies. Second, the inherent complexities of multi-level policy-making impede the creation of accountability links between the institutions of the EU and European publics. Even if the EU Commission has ideas about the most pressing problems prioritized by the majority of EU citizens, the European Parliament and national ministries in the Council may have different ideas of how such problems should be resolved. Nevertheless, the findings from recent research suggest that there is a dynamic relationship between aggregate levels of public support for EU integration and the volume of EU policy output. This research has raised questions of whether and under what conditions the EU and its constitutive actors are able to respond to citizen policy preferences and demands.

This project therefore tackled the question how EU politics are or can be responsive to citizen and political demands in a number of ways. In early 2018, Maurits Meijers and Asya Zhelyazkova organized an expert workshop on responsiveness in EU politics together with Markus Jachtenfuchs (Hertie School of Governance, Germany), Christian Rauh (WZB Berlin, Germany) and Pieter de Wilde (NTNU Trondheim, Norway).

In addition, Maurits Meijers and Asya Zhelyazkova worked on a research project titled “Shifting Attitudes, Shifting Outcomes? The Role of Governments’ EU Position Shifts on EU Policy Implementation” which examines the role of party positional change on their implementation behaviour. A draft of this paper was presented at the workshop ‘Transformation or Collapse? Politicization or Integration in Postfunctionalist Times’ at ACCESS EUROPE, Amsterdam, 13-14 October, 2017

Project member
Dr. Maurits Meijers

Erasmus University Rotterdam (Asya Zhelyaskova)

Lorentz Center, NIAS, Radboud University, NTNU Trondheim, Hertie School of Governance

Zhelyazkova, A., Bølstad, J., & Meijers, M. J. (2019). Understanding responsiveness in European Union politics: introducing the debate

It takes two to tango. The preliminary reference dance between the Court of Justice of the European Union and national courts

Duration: 2017/21

The European Union has had a tremendous impact on national laws and politics. One of the most important drivers of the European integration project has been the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Without the CJEU, the EU would undeniably look completely different. The CJEU has only been able to have such impact as a result of the preliminary questions the national courts have referred to it about the correct interpretation and the validity of EU law. There are, however, growing indications that this procedure, which is the most important procedure of EU law, is not working optimally: national courts seem to lack the necessary knowledge of EU law or they appear simply unwilling to refer. The actual implementation of the eventual CJEU rulings is also far from ideal.

If these shortcomings are not addressed, this could affect the effectiveness of EU law and even undermine the European integration project. It is thus crucial to understand why and how national courts use this procedure and engage with the CJEU with a view of finding solutions. This project therefore looks into the motives for (not) referring of judges of different courts within and across three EU Member States which have a different practice of referring: The Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom. In addition, it examines what national courts in these States do after they receive the requested preliminary rulings.

This project is the first comparative empirical study that analyses the motives of individual judges to refer and the follow-up of requested CJEU rulings. It applies an original methodological approach combining legal analysis of various judgments complemented with in-depth interviews with judges. The results will help to improve the use of the preliminary reference procedure and are thus relevant for the CJEU, national courts and other domestic stakeholders.

Project member
Dr. Jasper Krommendijk

NWO – Innovational Research Incentives Scheme Veni: NWO | It takes two to tango. The preliminary reference dance between the Court of Justice of the European Union and national courts.

Krommendijk, J. (2021). National Courts and Preliminary References to the Court of Justice. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. doi: https://doi.org/10.4337/9781800374171

Commissioned project: The implementation of the Water Framework Directive

Duration: 2017/18

This project modes of governance regarding the implementation of the EU’s Water Framework Directive in five selected Member States (Denmark, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Ireland) with a view to drawing lessons for the Netherlands. The project was commissioned by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving, PBL) and formed part of the preparation for the final implementation phase of the WFD (2021-27).

The project consisted of two phases. In a short first phase, a quick scan was carried out to explore the implementation of the WFD in the five selected countries. This resulted in a longlist of policy issues and modes of governance that may potentially provide lessons for the Netherlands. In the second phase an in-depth analysis was carried out of 3-5 issues that have been carefully selected from the longlist, each of those in one or more of the five countries in the sample. An assessment was made to what extent, in which ways and under which conditions these issues can provide lessons for the implementation of the WFD in the Netherlands. An international workshop was held at the end of the project to validate the results.

Project members
Dr. Mark Wiering
Dr. Duncan Liefferink
Dr. Maria Kaufmann
Nanda Kurstjens, MSc

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL)

Project report: The implementation of the Water Framework Directive (pdf, 1,5 MB)

Commissioned project: Preparing for Brexit: A game-based exploration of the potential negotiation strategies

Duration: 2017 (September-October)

In 2017 the Brexit taskforce approached us to organize a game-based simulation of the possible/likely course of the Brexit negotiations, which could subsequently help them shape the Dutch negotiation strategy and anticipate possible changes/complications in the course of the negotiations. We conducted three sessions in which we explored the key issues for debate and simulated the negotiations on these key issues. We presented a final report in which we explore key issues and dimensions of the Brexit negotiations, and ways in which the Dutch government can take these into account.

Project members
Bertruke Wein-Felling
Rob Willems
rof. Etienne Rouwette
r. Sandrino Smeets

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

ESTRANCA (Emergence and Significance of Transnational Long-Term Care Arrangements)

Duration: 2016/19

With the number of Europeans aged 80 and over rapidly increasing, new solutions are needed for the provision of long-term care (LTC) for the elderly in almost all EU countries. This project investigated the emergence of transnational care arrangements and their potential as solutions to problems experienced by policymakers and older people and their families in two countries with different LTC regimes: Germany and the Netherlands.

A central hypothesis was that different LTC regimes provide different incentives and opportunities for transnational arrangements. The research focused on how ‘care packages’ are actively constructed by individuals and families and how these micro-level packages are related to (changes in) national policies and macro-level ‘care mixes’.

Project members
Dr. Anita Böcker
Dr. María Bruquetas

Gutenberg Universität, Mainz (Vincent Horn and Cornelia Schweppe)

Open Research Area - ANR-DFG-ESRC-NWO Joint Funding Scheme Fourth Call 2015

Selected publications

  • Böcker, A.G.M., M.M. Bruquetas Callejo, V. Horn, and C. Schweppe. ‘“This Is Affordable!” The Role of Money Matters in the Use of Live-In Migrant Care Arrangements’. In Money Matters in Migration. Policy, Participation, and Citizenship, edited by Tesseltje de Lange, Willem Maas, and Annette Schrauwen, 149-168. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021.
  • Böcker, A.G.M. ‘Transnationale zorgarrangementen. Intermediairs en hun omgang met risico’s en regels’. In Reguleren en Procederen. Bijdragen aan het seminar ter gelegenheid van de pensionering van Tetty Havinga, edited by A.G.M. Böcker and P.E. Minderhoud. Tilburg: Wolf Legal Publishers, 2020. http://hdl.handle.net/2066/214296.
  • Böcker, A.G.M., and M.M. Bruquetas Callejo. ‘Inwonende buitenlandse zorgverleners. Opkomst en betekenis van een nieuw type zorgarrangement in de Nederlandse ouderenzorg’. Nijmegen Sociology of  Law Working Papers Series ; 2019/02. Nijmegen : Radboud University Nijmegen, 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/2066/205111.
  • Böcker, A.G.M., C. Schweppe, and V. Horn. ‘National Old-Age Care Regimes and the Emergence of Transnational Long-Term Care Arrangements for the Elderly’. In Transnational Social Policy. Social Welfare in a World on the Move, edited by L. Good Gingrich and S. Köngeter. London and New York : Routledge, 2017. http://hdl.handle.net/2066/174009.
  • Bruquetas‐Callejo, María. ‘Long‐Term Care Crisis in The Netherlands and Migration of Live‐in Care Workers: Transnational Trajectories, Coping Strategies and Motivation Mixes’. International Migration 58, no. 1 (February 2020): 105–18. https://doi.org/10.1111/imig.12628 .
  • Bruquetas Callejo, M.M., and L. Noordhuizen. ‘Family Issue or Professional Responsibility? Live-in Migrant Care Arrangements and Social Discourses about Legitimate Elder Care in the Netherlands’. Nijmegen Sociology of Law Working Papers Series; 2020/01. Nijmegen : Radboud University Nijmegen, 2020. http://hdl.handle.net/2066/216992.
  • Horn, Vincent, Cornelia Schweppe, Anita Böcker, and María Bruquetas-Callejo. ‘Introduction: The Global Old-Age Care Industry—Tapping into Care Labor Across and Within National Borders’. In The Global Old Age Care Industry: Tapping into Migrants for Tackling the Old Age Care Crisis, edited by Vincent Horn, Cornelia Schweppe, Anita Böcker, and María Bruquetas-Callejo, 1–27. Singapore: Springer Singapore, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-2237-3_1.
  • Horn, Vincent, Cornelia Schweppe, Anita Böcker, and María Bruquetas-Callejo. ‘Family Carers’ Expectations and Strategies in Shaping Live-in Migrant Carer Arrangements: A Comparison Between Germany and the Netherlands’. In The Global Old Age Care Industry: Tapping into Migrants for Tackling the Old Age Care Crisis, edited by Vincent Horn, Cornelia Schweppe, Anita Böcker, and María Bruquetas-Callejo, 57–78. Singapore: Springer Singapore, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-2237-3_3.
  • Horn, Vincent, Cornelia Schweppe, Anita Böcker, and María Bruquetas-Callejo. ‘Live-in Migrant Care Worker Arrangements in Germany and the Netherlands: Motivations and Justifications in Family Decision-Making’. International Journal of Ageing and Later Life 13, no. 2 (6 December 2019): 83–113. https://doi.org/10.3384/ijal.1652-8670.18410.

Ideas and Legitimating Discourse in EU and US Agricultural Policy-Making

Duration: 2016/19

For years there have been conflicts between the EU and the US regarding agricultural trade issues. Who hasn't heard of the uproar about hormone-treated meat or, more recently, chlorinated chickens? This research focuses on the impact that different US and EU policy instruments and objectives have on their trade negotiations in the agriculture sector. Not only does this effect trade agreements from the past, but also the interplay with current negotiations about the TTIP and in the Doha round of the WTO. The results of her research will give EU policy-makers insights into conditions needed to bring about reforms in the European agricultural policy that can contribute to improving transatlantic trade relationships.

Project member
Dr. Gerry van de Kamp-Alons

Boston University

European Commission – Horizon 2020: People Programme – Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (Global Fellowship)

Beyond Legal Compliance with EU Law

Duration: 2016/18

The impact of the European Union on domestic politics and policies is a prominent issue in current societal and political discourse. Consequently, numerous academic studies have investigated the legal compliance of domestic laws with EU requirements across member states and policy areas. However, legal compliance is only one dimension of domestic adjustment to EU law. To understand the full impact of the EU on national policy-making, this project aims at systematic analysis of the three consecutive stages of European policy cycle: (1) delegation of implementation powers to national executive institutions; (2) the quality of implementation outcomes; (3) the quality and transparency of ex-post evaluation. In doing so, the project aims to develop common conceptual and measuring tools for all three stages. Moreover, it aims to assess and explain variance across member states and policy areas in terms of discretion granted to implementation agents, practical implementation, and the relation between ex-post evaluation and enforcement.

Project members
Dr. Asya Zhelyazkova

Radboud University


  • Zhelyazkova, A., Kaya, C., & Schrama, R. (2017). Notified and substantive compliance with EU law in enlarged Europe: evidence from four policy areas. Journal of European Public Policy, 24(2), 216-238. doi: 1080/13501763.2016.1264084
  • Zhelyazkova, A., Kaya, C., & Schrama, R. (2017). When Practice Goes beyond Legislators' Expectations: Analysis of Practical Implementation Exceeding Legal Compliance with EU Directives. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies. doi: 1111/jcms.12637
  • Thomann, E., & Zhelyazkova, A. (2017). Moving beyond (non-)compliance: the customization of European Union policies in 27 countries. Journal of European Public Policy, 24(9), 1269-1288. doi: 1080/13501763.2017.1314536​

Pioneers, Leaders and Followers in Multilevel and Polycentric Climate Governance

Duration: 2016/19

Environmental/climate governance research has seen a proliferation of analytical terms to describe actors who try to engender change for the improvement of the environment/climate. Terms such as entrepreneur, forerunner, front runner, first mover, leader, lead actor, lead market, lead state, pace setter, pioneer and trend setter have all been used to identify and analyse such agents of change. The most widely used terms in this burgeoning literature are leader and pioneer. However, competing definitions of what constitutes a leader and/or pioneer continue to exist. This analytical confusion makes difficult the emergence of theory-guided cumulative empirical research. Liefferink and Wurzel (2016) argue that leaders usually actively seek to attract followers while this is not normally the case for pioneers. While not actively seeking to attract followers, pioneers may nevertheless unintentionally attract followers. The actual impact of leaders and pioneers is dependent not only on their own actions, but also on the ensuing leader-laggard dynamic. There is always the possibility of leaders and pioneers having minimal or no impact.

In September 2016 a workshop to explore these issues was held at the University of Hull. Based on the outcomes of this workshop, a special issue of the journal Environmental Politics was pubished under the editorship of Rüdiger Wurzel, Duncan Liefferink and Dairmuid Torney. This issue addressed the following main shortcomings in the existing literature: First, the proliferation of a wide range of competing definitions of what constitutes a leader and/or pioneer in climate change governance has led to analytical confusion and made difficult the emergence of theory-guided cumulative empirical research. Secondly, little systematic research exists on the motives, capacities, styles and strategies of different types of leaders and/or pioneers at different levels of climate governance. Thirdly, little is known about the complex relationship between leaders and pioneers on the one hand and followers and laggards on the other. How and why do actors become leaders and/or pioneers while others do not? How and why do they attract followers thus turning former laggards into leaders and/or pioneers?

It will take a novel, innovative approach to studying international climate governance and will offer:

  • An analytical focus which takes into account a wide range of state and non-state actors;
  • A critical analysis of climate leaders and pioneers as well as followers and laggards;
  • New insights into the dynamics and stalemates which are created by multilevel climate governance and polycentric climate governance structures; and,
  • Interdisciplinary analytical perspectives (including political science, sociology and geography) to the study of multilevel and polycentric climate governance.

The project has been formally finished with the publication of the special issue (Environmental Politics vol. 28 no. 1, 2019) announced on the website. However, the project team is still collaborating and planning new projects and publications.

Project members
Dr. Duncan Liefferink

University of Hull (Rudiger Wurzel)
Dublin City University (Diamruid Torney)

Funding of the original workshop held in Hull, September 2016: COST Action Innovations in Climate Governance (INOGOV)

The special issue includes contributions by various experts in the field as well as an introduction by the three principal project partners:

  • Wurzel, R.K.W., D. Liefferink and D. Torney (2019), ‘Leaders, pioneers and followers in multilevel and polycentric climate governance‘, Environmental Politics 28 (1): 1-21, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2019.1522033

The project gave rise to a number of follow-up publications, some of which are still in preparation:

  • Liefferink, D. and. R.K.W. Wurzel (2018), ‘Leadership and pioneership: exploring their role in polycentric governance’, in: A. Jordan, D. Huitema, H. van Asselt and J. Forster (eds), Governing climate change. Polycentricity in action? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 135-151. Open access: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/governing-climate-change/033486F6DA7F2CD1F8F3D6011B17909B.
  • Wurzel, R.K.W., D. Liefferink and M. di Lullo (2019), ‘The European Council, Council and Member States: Changing Environmental Leadership Dynamics in the European Union ‘, Environmental Politics 28(2): 248-70. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2019.1549783
  • Wurzel, R.K.W., Andersen, M.S. and Tobin, P. (eds.) (2021), Climate governance across the globe: pioneers, leaders and followers. London: Routledge
  • Liefferink, D., Andersen, M.S., Gheuens, J., Tobin, P., Torney, D. and Wurzel, R. (in prep.) ‘Leaders, Pioneers and Followers in Environmental Governance’, chapter for: H. Jörgens and Knill, C. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Policy, to be published by Routledge in 2022.
  • Tobin, P., … Liefferink, D., Andersen, M.S., Gheuens, J., Torney, D. and Wurzel, R. (in prep.), ‘Calling time on climate change: The importance of temporality when determining climate change leadership’, journal article in preparation

Building a new Europe (BNE): The causes and consequences of ‘integration by stealth’

Duration: 2014/19 or 2014/17

The BNE project analyses the negotiations concerning further financial, fiscal, economic and political integration, as they stemmed from the Eurocrisis. This is the debate about what is wrong with the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and how to fix it.

Many books and articles have been written about the Euro Crisis. Most of them are written by outsiders and are built around indirect recollections, press statements and articles in the Financial Times. Most of them are unduly critical about the decisions reached and somewhat ignorant of the way in which these decisions needed to be brought about. We intend to paint a more nuanced picture of the actual institutional dynamics and decision making processes, for instance in the negotiations on the European Semester, contractual arrangements and banking union.

What we are primarily interested in is how the different reform issues were dealt with and why they were dealt with in a certain matter. We are not focussing on the key summits or headline decisions, but want to know what happens before and after the summits and meetings. How problems are identified, options are generated and how political decisions are interpreted and implemented. We focus on the nitty-gritty, behind the scenes, part of the decision making in this still rather new area of economic governance.

Project members
Dr. Sandrino Smeets à gemaild, update na de kerst


University of Aarhus – coordinator 
University of Copenhagen

Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF)

PhD project: After implementation: feedback of implementation experiences

Duration: 2013/18 or 2013/16

This project was a collaboration of researchers from Public Administration, Political Science and Environmental Sciences. As such, it combined two PhD projects on the feedback of implementation experiences. The central question of the two projects is: under which conditions do information and experiences from the implementation of EU policies affect the European policy process? In answering this question, both projects applied a different empirical focus:

  • Daniel Polman’s PhD project looked at how the implementation of policy programs of the Common Agricultural Policy affects policy changes at the EU level. Primary actors of interest were domestic implementing agencies and EU institutions.

  • The PhD project of Marjolein van Eerd analysed EU policy changes and iterative implementation with regard to the policy processes of the EU Water Framework Directive and the EU Floods Directive. Primary actors of interest are domestic implementing agencies, EU institutions and international organizations- such as the International Commission for Protection of the Rhine.

Project members
Dr. Pieter Zwaan
Dr. Gerry van der Kamp-Alons
Prof. Pieter Leroy
Prof. Bertjan Verbeek
Dr. Mark Wiering
Daniel Polman
Marjolein van Eerd

Radboud University - Institute for Management Research


Polman, D.

Eerd, M. van

PhD project: Closing the regulatory cycle? Ex-post legislative evaluation in the European Union

Duration: 2013/18

The European Union suffers from a pressing legitimacy deficit, due to its weak democratic credentials. It thus must build legitimacy differently: by ensuring that its laws effectively solve societal problems. A crucial instrument for enhancing problem-solving effectiveness is ex-post evaluation of legislation. Surprisingly, there was no systematic empirical knowledge of this crucial last stage of the regulatory cycle. This project described and explained how often and how well the European Commission evaluates its legislation ex-post. It did s so using two novel datasets, and an innovative theoretical framework integrating insights from public administration, political science, and EU law.

Project members
Prof. Sandra van Thiel – coordinator
Dr. Ellen Mastenbroek
Stijn van Voorst

NWO – Research Talen

Voorst, S. van

Implementation of EU directives

Duration: 2013/18

This multidisciplinary project on the implementation of EU directives combines three PhD projects and seven disciplines: Human Geography, Spatial Planning, Environmental Sciences, Public Administration, Political Science, and Migration Law. The central question is: Under what conditions do agencies and subnational governments deviate from choices made by national governments during EU transposition? The goal of the projects is to shed light on the roles of agencies and subnational governments in the evolving multilevel structure of the EU. The three projects are listed below as follows:

  • EU implementation: an actor-oriented perspective (Elena Bondarouk)


These projects will study different EU directives in the areas of air quality, flood protection, and migration. They will involve various member states (France, Finland, Italy, Germany, and The Netherlands).

Project members
Prof. Sandra van Thiel
Prof. Ellen Mastenbroek
Prof. Eelke de Jong
Dr. Duncan Liefferink
Dr. Andrej Zaslove
Dr. Tineke Strik
Dr. Martin van der Velde
Prof. Peter Ache 
Dr. Sander Meijerink 
Michelle Zonneveld
Elena Bondarouk
Nora Dörrenbächer

Radboud University - Institute for Management Research

Strengthening And Redesigning European FLOOD risk practices

Duration: 2012/16

The research project STAR-FLOOD focuses on analysing, explaining, evaluating and designing policies to better deal with flood risks from rivers in urban agglomerations across Europe. The results of this ambitious project are expected to be highly relevant for policies and law at the European, national and regional level and for the development of public-private partnerships. Read more

Project members
Dr. Mark Wiering – coordinator
Wessel Ganzevoort
Maria Kaufmann
Prof. Pieter Leroy
Dr. Duncan Liefferink

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Luleå University of Technology
Middlesex University London
Utrecht University

Polish Academy of Sciences
University of Antwerp
University François Rabelais of Tours
European Center for Flood Risk Prevention

European Commission – 7th Framework Programme (FP7): Environment

For more information about our projects, contact Prof. Ellen Mastenbroek (ellen.mastenbroek@ru.nl).