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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: August 2009

8 - Does ‘law’ integrate? Licensing German and English coke ovens under the IPPC Directive



This chapter further develops analysis of the relationships between law and integration. Chapter 2 argued that a range of political scientists and lawyers consider positive state law – closed legal rules differentiated from their social, political and economic environment – to be central to EU integration processes. Hence ‘integration through law’ has been a key theme in the literature on EU integration. Chapter 3 critically analysed this theme with reference to the literature on new forms of EU governance. This literature draws attention to ‘integration without formal state law’ because EU institutions increasingly resort to ‘soft’ law as well as combinations of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ law. Soft law includes various forms of non-binding guidelines, recommendations, opinions, circulars, benchmarking and exchange of best practices, as practised in open methods of coordination. Increasing resort to Framework Directives has also been considered as an element of new forms of EU governance. Framework Directives do not seek to impose specific, detailed, prescriptive ‘hard’ EC law obligations upon member states, but only spell out legal obligations for member states in outline. Chapter 5 further questioned the argument for ‘integration through law’ on the basis of empirical data. I suggested that the implementation of the IPPC Directive in fact not only generates traditional, closed ‘hard’ state law, but also open BAT norms, which do not conform to the image of law invoked in the literature on ‘integration through law’.