Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Famous Cases Which Confirmed the Right to a Healthy Environment on National and European Levels

Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Famous Cases Which Confirmed the Right to a Healthy Environment on National and European Levels

Article excerpt


Fundamental human right to a healthy environment is part of the latest human rights, also called generation "solidarity rights," which stated largely in the European Court of Human Rights. The starting point is the Article 8, paragraph 1, of the European Convention on privacy and family life, so often invoked in cases of law in Europe. From this article, the right to a healthy environment as a normal and natural extension of the right to life has been developed, indirectly: we cannot have a healthy life without a healthy environment. A number of "famous" cases helped with speeding up the road from recognizing the right and its devotion to the authentic.

Keywords: environment, the right to a healthy environment, famous cases, law, ECHR

1. Introduction

The present stage, in which the environment and the society face destructive ecological phenomena, requires fast and more efficient solutions. Global warming, climate change, air, water, soil and subsoil pollution, the invasion of genetically modified organisms, the sharp decline of biodiversity, are just some of the most pressing issues that must be kept in check by means of protection, conservation and improvement of the environment.1 The cooperation and the legal regulations in the European Union regarding the environmental protection and conservation are justified by multiple political, socio-economic and ecological efforts. In 1998, the Executive Director of the Environment Programme of the United Nations - Klaus Töpfer identified ten "major injuries" to the Earth, which mainly were "air quality (acid rain, climate change and the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion), deforestation, biological diversity (biodiversity), water resources, soil degradation, population."2 In terms of economic policy among all world regions, Europe knows the highest unification process. Within the western continent, integration structures established since 1950 converged to create a more homogeneous union. The collapse of the totalitarian Eastern Europe regime in 1989 led to the unification of the region within the Council of Europe as the economic integration under the European Union made significant progress in recent years.

Council of Europe - classic international organization, adopted the documents listed in international law - and EEC - EU law on the environment. Recent years have heralded a specialization on different issues of these two institutions: the Council deals mainly with regulating cooperation regarding the protection and conservation of nature and the Union with matters regarding the pollution: prevention and solution to solve it. Introduction of new legislation is needed to set the rules and procedures for environmental protection, to implement the international commitments and to ensure the integrity of the single market. In the near future, rules and regulations shall be complemented by economic instruments and regulations relating to the accompanying horizontal pollution. "All these developments have led to a specific beam of regulations and even scientific discipline: EU environmental law."3

The specificity of European environmental law regulations arises from the very nature of the European institutions, which have the ultimate goal of full integration as Member continent. All the territories of member countries are treated as such, i.e. as a Europe which ignores borders and within which were adopted general rules for all activities of a certain type (e.g. those relating to hazardous establishments programs or the impact studies), but regulation sector remains predominant (such as for water, chemicals, toxic and dangerous waste).

European policy and environmental design have evolved closely related to dynamics of socio-economic and ecological aspects of our continent. Prevention has always been considered a priority action and the EU has given priority to curative and remedial; the fight against pollution dominated, in a first step, the environment laws, as well as the protection regulation sectoral approach by different environmental factors. …

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