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Policy Paper 53: European Legal Integration and Environmental Protection

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  • Cichowski, Rachel A.

Abstract

This paper examines how the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has operated to expand the integration project and has done so by serving as a forum for transnational political action by domestic and supranational policy actors. In particular, I study this integrative dynamic through the evolution of environmental protection policy in the European Union (EU). The purpose of this analysis is to reveal how the Court’s construction of supranational norms operates to fuel the integration process, and often in opposition to national government preferences. The data presented in this analysis pertains to Article 234 (ex Article 177) of the European Community (EC) Treaty. By studying this process, I am able to reveal not only the role of the Court in creating European environmental laws, but the integral role that both national judges and private litigants (individuals and interest groups) play in deepening integration. This study focuses specifically on the environment policy sector, yet provides a general framework for examining the case law in subsequent policy areas, with the purpose of providing a more nuanced understanding of European integration. This paper contributes to a growing body that strives to create a more nuanced understanding of both European integration and the larger processes of international policy-making (for example, Sandholtz and Stone Sweet 1998; Stone Sweet and Sandholtz 1997). In particular, this study demonstrates how the ECJ operates to expand the integration project by serving as a forum for transnational political action by domestic and supranational policy actors. I study this integrative dynamic through the evolution of environmental protection in the European Union. My purpose is two-fold. First, I examine the evolution of the Court’s Article 234 case law in this policy sector, focusing on outcomes. In particular, I evaluate whether the policy preferences of national governments have significantly impacted the Court’s decisions. Second, I examine the extent to which the tensions embodied in EU environmental policy have facilitated a dynamic relationship between the Court, private litigants (including interest groups) and national courts, leading to the expansion of supranational policy competence. Specifically, I am interested in determining the extent to which the policy process operates outside the reach of national government control.

Suggested Citation

  • Cichowski, Rachel A., 2000. "Policy Paper 53: European Legal Integration and Environmental Protection," Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, Working Paper Series qt799928k5, Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:globco:qt799928k5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mattli, Walter & Slaughter, Anne-Marie, 1995. "Law and politics in the European Union: a reply to Garrett," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(01), pages 183-190, December.
    2. Andrew Moravcsik, 1993. "Preferences and Power in the European Community: A Liberal Intergovernmentalist Approach," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 473-524, December.
    3. Garrett, Geoffrey, 1992. "International cooperation and institutional choice: the European Community's internal market," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 533-560, March.
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