The construction of legitimacy in European nature policy: expertise and participation in the service of cost-effectiveness

Esther Turnhout*, Jelle Behagel, Francesca Ferranti, Raoul Beunen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In environmental governance, the European Union draws on norms of effectiveness, decentralisation, and participation to ensure that its policies and regulations are considered legitimate. This article analyses how the construction of legitimacy in European nature policy has changed over time. Although the norms of participation and decentralisation are increasingly evoked to address the needs of stakeholders and member states in the implementation and financing of Natura 2000, the norm of effectiveness continues to dominate the construction of legitimacy. Effectiveness first acquired its meaning in the context of a science-based approach to Natura 2000 to emphasise the importance of achieving its conservation objectives. More recently, it has become increasingly re-articulated as cost-effectiveness, which reflects a growing influence of neoliberal discourse. The article concludes by discussing the implications of the findings for the legitimacy of European environmental governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-480
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Volume24
Issue number3
Early online date20 Mar 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2015

Keywords

  • Natura 2000
  • discourse
  • biodiversity conservation
  • democratic norms
  • ecosystem services
  • European Union
  • ENVIRONMENTAL-POLICY
  • ECOSYSTEM SERVICES
  • DEMOCRATIC LEGITIMACY
  • CONSERVATION POLICY
  • GOVERNANCE
  • IMPLEMENTATION
  • NETWORK
  • NETHERLANDS
  • SCIENCE
  • UNION

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