Since the Czech Republic joined the European Union, most of its environmental legislation is adopted through the EU policy process. However, environmental protection in the Czech Republic is undermined by the relatively high implementation deficit of EU environmental legislation. This publication aims to identify the reasons for this deficit, i.e. barriers to effective implementation of environmental directives adopted by the EU after 1 May 2004. Through qualitative interviews with officials from Prague and Brussels, including two former Czech Ministers of Environment, the author identifies two narratives of non-compliance specific for the Czech Republic and two narratives embedded in the EU system of administration. The publication concludes with recommendations on how to dismantle these barriers. The findings are relevant not only for decision-makers in Brussels and in Prague, but also for civil servants and politicians in other EU countries, especially from the ‘new member states‘ from Central and Eastern Europe. It might prove useful also to scholars dealing with implementation deficit in other countries and other policy areas.