The ‘Gänseliesel’ (Goose Girlis), a historical fountain erected in 1901, represents the most well-known landmark of the city of Goettingen.

The National Environmental Premium in Germany: A Rapid Reaction to the Financial Crisis at the Expense of Democracy?

Julia Becker, Marcus Höreth, Jared Sonnicksen



Can it be confirmed that times of crisis are times of executive dominance, as the general hypothesis expressed in the public discourse suggests? The Economic Stimulus Package II had been Germany’s reaction to the current financial crisis placing nations all over the world under dramatic pressure. In that case, executive federalism, a trademark of the German political system, should be expected to manifest itself. At the same time – and this shall also be investigated as the flip side of efficient performance of governments – is it possible that the normative, i.e. the constitutionally prescribed standards of democracy have, if not violated, then at least been neglected in these times of crisis? If so, that would certainly indicate “deparliamentarization”. The latter has been increasingly viewed as a result of the executive dominance in Germany’s cooperative federalism model, even though the popularly elected parliaments should have a wide-ranging, substantive regulatory power. We address this dual issue by focusing on the policy-making process leading to the introduction of the National Environmental Premium. We will look both empirically at its political and legal background as well as its legal precursors set through federal law and European law principles. In doing so, the democratic legitimacy of the Environmental Premium can be scrutinized.


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