Compliance and style of conflict management in Europe
This paper discusses the varying degree of implementation and compliance with international norms, taking EU and EFTA legislation as centre of analysis. Looking closer at the form of resolution when international norms conflict with national law, it is found that domestic traditions and political culture have considerable bearing on the efficiency of implementation - more so than any power of enforcement at the European level.
Why and to what extent do states differ in their implementation of international norms? Furthermore, why and to what extent do states differ in their mode of resolving conflicts regarding non-implementation of international norms? In this article the empirical focus is on implementation of Community legislation by the member states of the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Over time there has been an overall reduction in the deficit in transposition, but the number of conflicts regarding nonimplementation has increased in the same period. While states converge on transposition, they diverge regarding their mode of handling conflicts related to non-implementation. In general, the larger member states use more frequently court rulings to settle such conflicts. By contrast, the smaller states, and in particular the Nordic states pursue a more consensus seeking style, with limited use of courts. These observations indicate that domestic traditions and styles of decision making are more important for explaining variation than the enforcement capacity of the European institutions, and the extent of participation and power in decision making at the European level.