Global Competition and EU Environmental Policy

Global Competition and EU Environmental Policy

Global Competition and EU Environmental Policy

Global Competition and EU Environmental Policy

Synopsis

This is the first book to examine the relationship between economic competitiveness and environmental protection in European Union policy. It contains a wide range of international case studies.

Excerpt

This book is the first to offer a sustained analysis of the relationship between economic competitiveness and environmental protection in European Union policy. Within the EU, as in other parts of the world, concern for maintaining economic competitiveness has become a dominant political issue. At both the member state and supranational level, efforts are underway to streamline existing legislation and generally lighten what industry perceives to be excessive regulatory burdens. More than ever, national governments and the Commission are each faced with considerable tension between their established commitment to environmental protection and their sensitivity to promoting economic performance.

In light of this tension, this book brings together experts from the fields of law, political science and economics, academics as well as practitioners, to explore two central questions: first, to what extent and in what form has the fear of a competitive disadvantage due to high environmental regulatory standards in Europe shaped the development of EU environmental policy; second, which policy options have been used in the past to reconcile competitiveness with environmental protection, and do these options offer a viable foundation for constructing the next generation of EU environmental policies? The introductory chapter provides a framework for analysing the competitiveness issue, presents an overview of the individual case studies, and highlights a number of important considerations which complicate the task of accommodating both environmental and economic objectives. The seven chapters which follow address a wide range of international environmental agreements and internal EU environmental policies which have a substantial international dimension, including those dealing with ozone layer protection, pesticide exports, shipping, climate change, agriculture, development assistance, and the environmental dimension of GATT/WTO. Of central concern to each author is the compatibility of EU competitiveness and environmental protection: whether one objective undermines the other, under what conditions do environmental standards actually contribute to competitiveness (the ‘win-win’ hypothesis), and what are the associated implications for maintaining free trade and averting green protectionism.

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