This paper explores cross-scale governance between the European Union (EU) and Member State level arising from the identification of key policy priorities by stakeholders in six river basins across Europe and their relationship to EU policy development and implementation. Particular emphasis is given to interpretation of Good Ecological Status in implementing the EU Water Framework Directive, climate adaptation for water management, application of agri-environment measures to reduce agricultural impacts on water and control of discharges from industry. The paper also examines lessons from wider sources of information such as legal analysis of transposition of EU law at national level and the rulings of the European Court of Justice. The analysis identifies a number of different types of ‘information’ transmission between the different governance scales. Information includes a range of governance issues, including transmission of rules. These are exact ‘information’ transmission (water quality standards), national elaboration of information transmitted (adapting to climate change), national simplification of information transmitted (industrial pollution control), distributed information transmission (in national transposition), fuzzy transmission of information (interpretation of Good Ecological Status) and barriers to transmission (available funding). The paper concludes by considering the importance of cross-scale analysis in assessing policy effectiveness and argues for further analysis drawing on cross-scale research derived from ecosystems analysis.

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