Framing Environmental Policy in the European Union
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Chapter 2: Framing Environmental Policy in the EU
1. INTRODUCTION Concern for the environment has become an important dimension of cooperation within the European Union. The introductory articles of both the EU and the EC Treaty set forth the principles of cooperation. Article 2 EC emphasizes that the objective of the Community is ‘to promote . . . a harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities’. Article 3 EC cites the duties of the Community, which include the introduction of ‘a policy in the sphere of the environment’. Compared to the Treaty of Rome and the Single European Act (SEA), where environmental protection is not mentioned in the introductory articles, the EC Treaty clearly attaches considerable importance to the environment. Even though environmental protection is recognized as an important objective in the EC Treaty, it is, however, equally clear that environmental concern does not allow for national measures with an environmental aim ad inﬁnitum (Krämer, 1992, p. 78). Member States’ possibilities of implementing national environmental measures that diﬀer from EU measures are restrained by several provisions in the Treaties. The internal market, in particular, imposes several restrictions on national environmental policies. Article 14 EC determines that the internal market ‘shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured’. A well-functioning internal market requires in addition that equal conditions of competition for ﬁrms in the Community are maintained. The potential conﬂict is most distinct when environmental regulations are imposed in the form of product standards. In...
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