Differentiated policy implementation in the European Union

Asya Zhelyazkova*, Eva Thomann, Eva Ruffing, Sebastiaan Princen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


This special issue analyses the patterns, causes and consequences of Differentiated Policy Implementation (DPI) in the European Union (EU). DPI is an umbrella term for the diversity in the presence and use of discretion during legal and practical policy implementation processes and outcomes in the EU. The emergent DPI research agenda emphasises differentiation in EU policy implementation beyond mere legal compliance, which is more widespread, and its role in the broader political and policy processes of EU multilevel governance. The contributions highlight anticipated implementation as one dimension of DPI, as well as legal and practical implementation. DPI serves as an alternative to differentiated integration (DI), accommodating heterogeneous national preferences, capacities and conditions, and feeding back into EU policy-making. The impact of DPI on the EU’s output legitimacy and effectiveness depends on scope conditions that require more scholarly attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-465
Number of pages27
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Research programs



Dive into the research topics of 'Differentiated policy implementation in the European Union'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this