In the European context, the Commission is responsible for monitoring and enforcing states’ compliance with EU legislation. However, the Commission often entrusts external actors to monitor and assess implementation. To what extent does the Commission withhold, partially or fully disclose compliance assessments? Drawing on reputational accounts of bureaucratic performance, it is expected that the Commission is confronted with competing incentives. On the one hand, the Commission needs to justify enforcement decisions based on expert evaluations. On the other hand, disseminating information about non-compliance could exacerbate relations with the member states and threatens to damage the Commission’s unique reputation as the main guardian of the EU treaties. Employing a novel data-set on the transparency of compliance assessments, it is found that the Commission discloses compliance assessments prepared by highly competent external actors only partially. The finding raises concerns about the extent to which wider audiences are sufficiently informed about national implementation outcomes.

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West European Politics
Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

Zhelyazkova, A. (2020). Justifying enforcement or avoiding blame? The transparency of compliance assessments in the European Union. West European Politics. doi:10.1080/01402382.2020.1845943