National Government Interventions in a Global Arena
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Edited by Frank Wijen, Kees Zoeteman, Jan Pieters and Paul van Seters
Chapter 12: The Dispersion of Authority in the European Union and its Impact on Environmental Legislation
12. The Dispersion of Authority in the European Union and its Impact on Environmental Legislation Ludwig Krämer SUMMARY The achievements and limitations of environmental legislation by the European Union (EU) and the possible effectiveness of a central environmental authority are the main topics of this chapter. After a description of the history of EU environmental legislation, the institutional framework and achievements of EU legislation are reviewed. This is followed by an analysis of factors that influence European environmental legislation. Next, I discuss the relationships between EU and national legislations, and between environmental and other policies. The question of whether EU standards are sufficiently stringent is answered negatively and major shortcomings are identified. A powerful central environmental authority would not have been more effective than the present regime; four Directives are used as examples. I conclude that the stringency of EU environmental legislation is mainly determined by political will – dispersion of authority is not so important – and that, notwithstanding major achievements at the European level, environmental interests have been insufficiently represented and considered, leaving concerns for the future. INTRODUCTION In this chapter, I examine whether the absence of an EU government and therefore, of a uniform, coherent environmental policy has influenced the stringency of EU environmental legislation.1 I start by providing a short 1 Prior to 1 December 2009, the EU did not have legal personality and could thus not adopt legislation; such legislation was adopted by the European Community (EC). As the Lisbon Treaty entered into effect on 1...
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