Abstract Heiko Pleines and Kristýna Bušková

Czech Environmental NGOs: Actors or Agents in EU Multilevel Gov ernance?

Heiko Pleines and Kristýna Bušková

Abstract: The article examines the integration of Czech en vi ron men tal NGOs into EU multi-level gov ernance. It argues that the EU Commission has promoted environmental NGOs in order to have an ally at national and regional levels, which pressures for the implementation of EU regulation. This relation can be attributed to common interests, as both want to strengthen en vi ron men tal regulation. However, in cases of conflicting in terests Czech environmental NGOs are not in a position to de fend their position at the EU level. This questions the claim by the EU Commission that the integration of civil society or gani sations is the best way to increase democratic legitimacy of the EU decision-making process. Thus, NGOs provide not only, and in the case of Czech environmental NGOs not even primarily, a link between national societies and the EU Commission, but they offer a further control mechanism between the EU Commission and the national and regional governments.

Keywords: EU governance, interest groups, environmental NGOs, Czech Republic