Evasion as a mechanism of resistance (not only) to European law

Authored by: Nikolaos Zahariadis , Laurie Buonanno

The Routledge Handbook of European Public Policy

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138927339
eBook ISBN: 9781315682723
Adobe ISBN:


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The concept of integration through law not only requires member states to transpose and apply European law, but also to refrain from adopting new measures that are contrary to European law (Saurugger and Terpan, 2013, p. 7). Saurugger and Terpan outline that resistance to European norms “may result from either a refusal to act . . . or any action contrary to EU law” (p. 7). The chapter argues that evasion is a specific and relevant mechanism of resistance to European law. Evasion does not actively contravene EU law, but it is rather a more subtle form of calculated resistance. The observation is in line with institutional theory arguing that institutions (in this case European law) have a strong influence on agency but do not fully determine what actors do (Peters, 2012). Evasion in this sense is an idiosyncratic reaction to the rules of negative integration which are not always clear as to what action is or is not allowed, producing legal uncertainty (Schmidt, 2008).

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