ABSTRACT

This chapter takes stock of the volume by bringing together the analysis of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (the CAP), the Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (SBSR), the Nitrates Directive (ND), and the Water Framework Directive (WFD). By first explaining the nicknames given to the EU regulator in each regulatory instrument – the erratic regulator, the naïve regulator, the candid regulator, and the ambitious regulator – the conclusions carve out the path the regulator has taken to embrace adaptive management in its water governance instrument, the WFD. The EU regulator issued the WFD after first attempting macroregional governance in the SBSR, financial regulation in the CAP, and straightforward pollution control in the ND. Discussing the challenges adaptive governance faces in both transnational environmental governance and at national level, the chapter highlights the elementary role that access to justice and judicial review of administrative authorisations have in securing the rule of law to an adequate extent in adaptive environmental governance. The incompatibility between adaptive management and law is found to be a sustaining one, not to be resolved without compromising the essence of either one. The chapter is concluded by considering the tentative synergies the EU might gain from seeking further coherence between the different instruments, attempting to balance the weaknesses in each of them with the strength of the others. In better coordinating this legal landscape – by moving from socio-eco-legal to socio-eco2-legal governance – the regulator could find fruitful options for its future work.