Withdrawal of European Soil Framework Directive: Reasons and Recommendations

  •  Yijia Chen    


The European Soil Framework Directive was the first policy approach of soil protection at the European level. It had an objective to protect soils across Europe and maintain the sustainability of soil functions. Notwithstanding the significance of the directive along with both the current state and the trend of the soil in Europe were negative, it had been strongly blocked by five member states of the European Union since it was adopted in 2006, encompassing the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Austria. The proposal was withdrawn formally on 21 May 2014 by the European Commission without any official statement of reasons. Consequently, this study aimed at the reasons for the withdrawal and the amendments to the directive, which contributed to restoring its role in soil conservation. It ascertained the reasons and proved some recommendations principally via a deductive approach and qualitative research. The results demonstrated that the resistance of the five main blocking countries was the direct factor in the withdrawal. Behind the statements of opponents, financial difficulties and political issues were the possible underlying reasons. Hence, the European Commission could arrange more meetings and change some provisions to eliminate the misunderstanding with its member states. On the other hand, it is sensible for the opponents to be more flexible to deal with the directive, for instance, establishing the benefits from the articles as well as more approaches for solving the problem of financial shortage.

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