Overlooked yet ongoing: policy termination in the European Union

Gijs-Jan Brandsma, Jan Pollex, Paul Tobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the 2010s, research focusing on the dismantling of policies grew considerably and contributed to a better understanding of the dynamics of policy change. Policy termination, i.e. the complete deleting of policies, is a separate but equally relevant concept, yet it has been overlooked due to the difficulty of obtaining the extensive datasets needed to demonstrate patterns. We seek to fill this gap in research by providing a first analysis of policy termination in the European Union (EU), based on a dataset of over 120,000 EU policies. After differentiating the concept of termination from dismantling, we analyse the prevalence of termination between 1971 and 2021 across all policy areas. We show that termination is a constant but limited feature of EU policy-making, and, in contrast to existing assumptions, termination was not more prominent during the 2010s despite the rhetorical commitments to more streamlined regulation.

Key words
European Union, decision-making, policy termination, policy dismantling, public policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Feb 2023


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