Twenty years of EU Environmental Legislation after Maastricht: The increasing role of the EU as a global green standard-setter

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The achievement of a ‘high level of environmental protection’ is one of the constitutional aims of the European Union. It was with the Maastricht Treaty that the already on-going practice of developing environmental policies and legislation by the European Economic Community (EEC) was codified by recog-nising that ‘a policy in the sphere of the environment’ is one of the activities of the Community. Nowadays the environmental domain is characterised by an enormous package of secondary laws aiming at greening Europe. Although progress has been made, there are still persistent problems regarding inter alia greenhouse gases, soil pollution, air pollution, and chemicals.

This chapter discusses the development of EU environmental legislation since the Maastricht Treaty. Section 2 will first discuss the environmental competence established by the Single European Act and the important amendments made to it by the Maastricht Treaty. The chapter then proceeds by discussing internal EU environmental legislation in view of coherency, regulatory choices, and compliance (Section 3). Section 4 reflects on the role of the EU in the field of global environmental governance, particularly the use of unilateral extrater-ritorial action in order to entice other countries to take more ambitious envi-ronmental action. A conclusion follows in Section 5.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Treaty on European Union 1993-2013: Reflections from Maastricht
EditorsM. de Visser, A.P. van der Mei
Place of PublicationAntwerp
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-1-78068-206-8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Publication series

SeriesIus Commune Europaeum

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