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ENGOs, EU accession and empowerment: the case of land rationalisation in Malta

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This paper analyses whether EU Accession has helped empower Maltese ENGOs, with specific reference to the land rationalisation issue between 2006 and 2010. This issue was characterised by the Maltese Government's decision to extend development boundaries prior to the 2008 general elections. Malta's environmental movement opposed this decision and lobbied at national and European levels. Even though the rationalisation issue became one of the most prominent environmental issues at the time, the environmental movement ultimately failed to change Government's decision. This paper argues that, with respect to development of land, EU accession alone is not sufficient to empower ENGOs, as this process is mediated with other overdetermining factors.

Keywords: environmental NGOs, Malta, European Union, EU accession, empowerment, land rationalisation, Europeanisation, land development, environmental impact, non–governmental organisations

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