Theory and Policy in the Context of EU Enlargement and Economic Transition
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by John W. Maxwell and Rafael Reuveny
Chapter 4: Trade, the Harmonization of Environmental Policy and the Subsidiarity Principle
Charles Perrings INTRODUCTION Enlargement of the European Union implies increasing heterogeneity amongst member states. This raises important questions about the connections between trade and environmental policy in the enlarged EU and in particular, about the role of harmonization in environmental policy. The question posed is the following: what should be the nature of the linkages between common trade and environmental policies, and to what extent should a common environmental policy imply the harmonization of environmental standards? Although the chapter is concerned with the European Union, and with the diﬀerences between current and accession states, these turn out to be essentially the same questions being raised at the global level in connection with an environmental analogue to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The institutional implications are somewhat diﬀerent, but the principles at issue are the same. Given this, the chapter begins with a discussion of the global debate about the linkages between trade and the environment, and the importance of diﬀerences between countries for those linkages. This debate is normally considered in terms of North–South diﬀerences, but enlargement faces the European Union with qualitatively similar problems. For example, the current concerns of the South about the role of environmental standards as trade protection devices have echoes in the concerns of accession countries over harmonized environmental standards. Globally, the failure of trade liberalization to yield promised development beneﬁts has hardened attitudes in the South against environmental cooperation. The fact that the South’s share of world exports...
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