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Open AccessArticle

Piecemeal Integration: Explaining and Understanding 60 Years of European Union Forest Policy-Making

1
Institute of Forest, Environmental and Natural Resource Policy, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) and European Forest Institute (EFI)—Forest Policy Research Network, Feistmantelstrasse 4, 1180 Vienna, Austria
2
Salzburg Centre of European Union Studies (SCEUS), University of Salzburg, Mönchsberg 2, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
3
Institute of Forest, Environmental and Natural Resource Policy, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), Feistmantelstrasse 4, 1180 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(11), 719; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9110719
Received: 1 October 2018 / Revised: 10 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 19 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Economics and Human Dimensions)
This article looks at forest policy as empirical case study of European integration. By applying different theoretical lenses of European integration approaches (neo-functionalism, liberal intergovernmentalism, three institutionalist approaches and constructivism), it seeks to explain and understand the integration of forest policy in the European Union during the policy’s emergence (1958 to 1960s), expansion (1970 to late 1990s) and stabilization period (late 1990s to now). The findings clearly show that, to a certain extent, all European integration theories have their merits for the analysis. However, none of the employed integration theories alone can explain all the relevant aspects of the broader developments in EU forest policy. No individual theory can help explain why forest policy developed only incrementally and why it has been weakly institutionalized. This article, therefore, argues to combine them so as to establish a clearer picture of the driving factors and constraints. As each of the grand theories has its weak spots, it is further argued that scholars of European studies should work across a broader theoretical spectrum as only this would allow light to be shed on blind spots in empirical investigation over longer time periods. View Full-Text
Keywords: institutionalization; European integration theories; forest policy; European Union; policy-making institutionalization; European integration theories; forest policy; European Union; policy-making
MDPI and ACS Style

Pülzl, H.; Wydra, D.; Hogl, K. Piecemeal Integration: Explaining and Understanding 60 Years of European Union Forest Policy-Making. Forests 2018, 9, 719.

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