The draft Constitution for Europe: Good news for the environment?

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV.COM Ltd.

In assessing the environmental provisions of the constitution’s final draft, the two key questions are: does the text live up to the commitments currently in the European Treaties, and does it go beyond the existing commitments. The following provides a brief analysis, in response to these questions.

Abstract

The primary concern in drafting the European Union’s new, but not yet finalized, constitution has been to maintain the existing EU Treaty provisions in terms of the environment, environmental integration into other EU policies, and sustainable development. In addition, to some extent the new constitution will enhance the political rights of EU citizens by requiring greater openness.

However, the lack of progress in relation to enhancing the access to justice will frustrate environmental nongovernmental organizations who would like to initiate legal action at EU level. Notwithstanding the draft as it now exists, however, ultimately the rather secretive Inter-Governmental Conference will decide on the final version of the constitution, an effort that will take many more months.

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Clare Coffey is a Senoir Fellow, Institute for European Environmental Policy, Brussels, Belgium.

For more analyses on this and other topics, visit the European Environmental Policy website.  

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