Framing Environmental Policy in the European Union
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Chapter 1: Introduction
BACKGROUND This book is motivated by my own confusion about the prospects for environmental policy in the European Community. Its outline was sketched in the repercussions of the two Danish referenda in 1992 and 1993, ﬁrst rejecting and then approving the Maastricht Treaty, and the narrow victory of the ‘yes’ vote in the French referendum. At that time the Community was mired in one of its most severe crises, and environmental policy was no exception. Environmental policy became a political football, used by the ‘yes’ wing to promote the advantages of Community action and by the ‘no’ wing as providing clear-cut examples of superﬂuous Community action. The year 1992 should have been the year when European integration reached its maximum, with the completion of the internal market and the launching of the European Union. Instead it became clear that further European integration was being met by unexpectedly strong resistance at national levels. One of the main questions was to decide which policy tasks should be undertaken by the Community and which should be delegated to the national governments. The subsidiarity principle appeared as a concept which could help strike a balance between Community powers and Member States’ powers and to help the Community to steer a new course. Environmental policy played a signiﬁcant role in the subsidiarity debate. Harmonization of environmental policy measures was one of the major concerns of the Community’s internal market project because the number of those measures had increased rapidly during the 1980s. Moreover,...