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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Salient to Whom? The Positioning of German Political Parties on Agricultural Pollutants in Water Bodies

by Simon Schaub 1,2
1
Institute of Political Science, Heidelberg University, Bergheimer Straße 58, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany
2
Heidelberg Center for the Environment, Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 229, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Water 2019, 11(11), 2278; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112278
Received: 15 September 2019 / Revised: 28 October 2019 / Accepted: 29 October 2019 / Published: 30 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Policy Analysis of Integrated Water Resource Management)
Scholars have increasingly argued for an integration of policies on agriculture and water due to their strong interlinkage. The entry of agricultural pollutants into water represents one of the main pressures on Europe’s ground and surface waters. This not only poses a risk to the environment and human health but also jeopardizes meeting the targets set by the EU Water Framework Directive. Research on the political agenda setting has shown that issue salience is key for triggering policy change. Nevertheless, Germany has repeatedly failed to adopt adequate policy measures despite the salience of the issue among the German public and increasing pressure by the EU. In this study, I shed light on the positioning of political parties in Germany on agricultural pollutants to explain the absence of policy change. More specifically, I ask whether there is an ideological division between political parties that hampers the adoption of effective, integrated policy measures. A qualitative content analysis of election manifestos published between 1998 and 2018 finds that political parties’ policy positions are predominantly influenced by their placement on an environmental and an economic ideological dimension. As a result, political parties in Germany advocate conflictive policy approaches, which is detrimental to the adoption of effective policy measures. View Full-Text
Keywords: Germany; water pollution; political parties; integrated water resource management; policy proposals; salience; surface water; agriculture Germany; water pollution; political parties; integrated water resource management; policy proposals; salience; surface water; agriculture
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schaub, S. Salient to Whom? The Positioning of German Political Parties on Agricultural Pollutants in Water Bodies. Water 2019, 11, 2278.

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