Eva Thomann
Customizing Europe: Transposition as bottom-up implementation

Journal of European Public Policy, 2015: 22, issue 10, pp. 1368-1387
ISSN: 1350-1763 (print); 1466-4429 (online)

European Union (EU) implementation research has neglected situations when member states go beyond the minimum requirements prescribed in EU directives (gold-plating). The top–down focus on compliance insufficiently accounts for the fact that positive integration actually allows member states to transcend the EU's requirements to facilitate context-sensitive problem-solving. This study adopts a bottom–up implementation perspective. Moving beyond compliance, it introduces the concept of ‘customization’ to depict how transposition results in tailor-made solutions in a multilevel system. The study analyses the hitherto unexplored veterinary drug regulations of four member states. Using fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis and formal theory evaluation, this article assesses how policy and country-level factors interact. Results reveal the countries’ different customization styles. The latter simultaneously reflect the interplay of domestic politics with institutions, and the ‘fit’ of EU regulatory modes with domestic, sectoral interventionist styles. Compliance approaches cannot fully explain these fine-grained patterns of Europeanization.