Embracing European Law. Compliance with EU Directives in Central and Eastern Europe
European Union Politics (2008), vol.9, issue 3, pp.379-402
Accession to the European Union (EU) demands the adoption of a vast body of legislation. This paper analyses compliance with EU directives in eight post-communist countries during the Eastern enlargement and tries to account for the puzzling embrace of EU law in Central and Eastern Europe. Drawing on a new data set tracking the transposition of a sample of 119 directives, the paper finds effects of both political preferences and government capacity on the likelihood of timely transposition. Furthermore, important sectoral differences are uncovered, with trade-related legislation having a better chance and environmental legislation having a significantly worse chance of being incorporated into national legal systems on time. Beyond the conditionality of the accession process, the paper unveils a complex causal structure behind the ups and downs in transposition performance.