Comparing transposition in the 27 member states of the EU: the impact of discretion and legal fit

Bernard Steunenberg and Dimiter Toshkov

Journal of European Public Policy (2009), vol.16, issue 7, pp.951-70


Transposition performance differs significantly across countries and policy sectors in the EU. In this article we analyse the transposition efforts of all 27 member states with regard to four EC directives expected to create considerable difficulties for compliance at the national level. Using Cox proportional hazards regression, we find that discretion and legal fit are significant factors in explaining transposition. Furthermore, we discover that the new member states from Central and Eastern Europe are not doing any worse than the rest of the EU in terms of transposition timeliness. Surprisingly, government effectiveness has a negative relationship with compliance, while periods of absence of functioning government do not increase transposition time. Our findings emphasize the importance of legal-administrative factors for compliance with EU law.


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