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Fit for purpose? Assessing Collaborative Innovation in the European Network for Prosecutors for the Environment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 September 2019

Vrije Universiteit; email:
Institute for Management Research, Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen; email:


European Administrative Networks are expected to strengthen the national enforcement of European legislation. The idea is that these networks organise national civil servants, and allow them to exchange best practices, negotiate guidelines and develop inventive solutions to common challenges faced during the implementation and enforcement of European Union regulations. This paper proposes a framework to evaluate European Administrative Networks on their potential to spur collaborative innovation concerning national enforcement of this common regulation. The framework is then applied to a particular network, the European Network for Prosecutors of the Environment. Results show that this network can be considered a resource for collaborative innovation.

Symposium on Institutional Innovations in the Enforcement of EU Law and Policies
© Cambridge University Press 2019 

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88 The e-nose is a new technology through which (dangerous) odeur can be detected. It is already used in Rotterdam Harbour for example, but has not been yet used to present evidence before court (4). See for more information on the application of e-nose: <>.

89 ENPE makes the following remark with respect to the case law exchanged through the database in its newsletter: “It is important to note that the database is of a non-operational character and concerned with legal aspects only. Names of defendants and other identifying information are left out” (3). Other respondents also note they cannot exchange information on operational cases, or personal information, as operational protocol declares this information confidential (13; 12; 8).

90 While it is beyond the scope of this article to explore the specific outcomes of ENPE, information exchange can also be considered an outcome of ENPE’s collaborative process. The database with environmental case law, discussed in section III, is an example of innovative enforcement through ENPE.

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