Understanding Policy Coherence: Analytical Framework and Examples of Sector–Environment Policy Interactions in the EU


Måns Nilsson, Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail: mans.nilsson@sei.se


This paper presents a framework for analysing policy coherence in a European Union setting through the perspective of policy interaction. Building on a simple policy-analytical approach and theories of institutional interaction, the framework develops a three-step analytical approach, consisting of the inventory of policy objectives, the screening matrix and a more in-depth analysis of key interactions. Central to the analytical framework is the identification of synergy and conflict at three levels: policy objectives, policy instruments and implementation practices, also taking into account as far as possible outcome and impacts. The paper presents illustrative examples from EU renewable energy and cohesion policies in relation to different environmental policy areas such as biodiversity, habitats, resource efficiency and water. It finds that policies are often coherent at the level of objectives, but that associated instruments and in particular implementation practices cause concern for policy conflict in all three examples. Finally, the paper identifies emerging challenges in the application of policy coherence analysis and a need for further development of the analytical approach. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment