Date Presented

Spring 4-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

First Advisor

Marek Payerhin, PhD

Second Advisor

David Richards, PhD

Third Advisor

Beth Savage, PhD


The European Union has some of the highest environmental standards in the world. However, multiple member states fail at reaching the deadlines set by the European Union (EU). This thesis examines the effectiveness of the European Union’s environmental directives on gaining compliance from member states to reach the agreed-upon standards. This is assessed by using three European Union directives from different environmental areas and analyzing their requirements. Each directive represents either a hierarchical policy, negotiated policy, or voluntary policy transfer. This study hypothesizes that the hierarchical policy, represented by EU Directive 2008/98/EC, will be more effective at gaining compliance than the negotiated or voluntary policies because of its clear requirements and coercive measures. Three out of the 27 European Union member states are studied to obtain an in-depth look at their ability to meet the three directives’ goals: reaching a recycling rate of 50% by 2020, using a total of 20% renewable energy and 10% in transportation by 2020, and consuming no more than 90 plastic bags per person by the end of 2019. The three member states analyzed are Bulgaria, Estonia, and Germany. After analyzing the data of Bulgaria, Estonia, and Germany, the findings did not support the hypothesis predicting higher compliance through the hierarchical policy.