Framing Environmental Policy in the European Union
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Chapter 3: Subsidiarity and EU Environmental Policy
* 1. INTRODUCTION The Danes’ rejection by referendum of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, the narrow victory of the ‘yes’ vote in the French referendum, and the political and judicial challenges in the UK and Germany showed that further European integration was met with stronger resistance at national levels at the beginning of the 1990s. Member State populations felt an aversion to what was seen as the Community’s inexorable march towards greater integration, which would trample claims of democratic self-governance and cultural diversity. In this delicate situation, the Maastricht Treaty drafters turned to ‘subsidiarity’ as a concept which would build conﬁdence in the new Treaty. Immediately after the adoption of the Maastricht Treaty, however, it became clear that the actual scope of subsidiarity and the way in which it could be used by the Community institutions was uncertain. The Treaty drafters were in a delicate situation in which, on the one hand, they wanted to complete eight years of hard work with the consolidation of the internal market by deepening European integration. On the other hand, Member States’ conﬁdence was to be maintained through a guarantee of the proximity of government. Subsidiarity was envisaged as a concept that should strike the balance between integration and proximity. Hence subsidiarity was included in a way that ‘should help to assure the citizen that decisions will be taken as closely as possible to the citizen himself, without damaging the advantages which he gains from common action at the level of the whole...
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