'Giving effect to policy': a legal and empirical investigation of the implementation of European food quality schemes in Poland (PDO, PGI,TSG).
Legal scholarship regarding the implementation of European Union law recognises the gap between policy, enacted law and its application. Writers typically focus on the role of the European Court of Justice, the role of the European Commission, as well as the obligations of Member States under European law stemming from the Treaties (and in a broader context, from the association with the European Union). Political science literature offers a different explanation of the same gap between policy and implementation, highlighting the presence of extra-legal factors obstructing the occurrence of desired social changes. The literature has identified a number of variables which determine implementation outcomes, and suggested contextual conditions which may be conducive to ‘giving effect to policy’. This thesis explores tensions arising from legal concepts of direct applicability and compliance, and political science concepts of implementation and practical effectiveness with reference to voluntary food quality schemes in Poland, in particular the laws of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) and Traditional Specialties Guaranteed (TSG). The core of the research is an empirical study, using semi-structured interviews with actors at all levels of implementation of these laws in Poland: at the ministerial, regional and local level, including officials and producer consortia. An interview protocol derived from the theories of implementation in political science and law investigates the implementation chain in its entirety, from policy formation to the legislative act, and finishing with the ‘recipients’ themselves, the targets of legal intervention. The results show that a lack of effectiveness does not mean non-compliance (in law) of an EU Member State. Member States might have implemented the Community legislation fully by creating a regulatory environment indispensable to its success. Yet, for implementation to be effective, enforcement agents must themselves be committed to the behaviour required by the law, circumstances external to the implementing agency should not impose critical constraints, and the recipients must be persuaded of the benefits of participating in voluntary schemes. These findings appear to support the political science theory of perfect implementation and effectiveness of law, and highlight gaps in enforcement mechanisms available to the Union Institutions. For example, the European Court of Justice acts against non-compliance on the Commission’s motion, whereas the Commission often relies on claims lodged by Member States or other entitled actors, rather than on its own investigation. The findings also confirm that political science models designed for international or national law remain valid for European Union law and can be applied in its specific context.