Matthews, Duncan. (1999) “The Ebb and Flow of EC Environmental Instruments: Why the Need for a New Framework Approach to Community Water Policy?”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, PA. (Unpublished)
The paper examines the development of European Community (EC) water policy in three distinct phases. It suggests that EC environmental action on water entailed a period of intense activity in the years following the First Action Programme on the Environment in 1973 when the “flow” of secondary legislation was at its peak; a period of review and consolidation from 1988 and 1996 when an “ebb” in successive waves of new secondary legislation appears to have occurred; and, most recently, a period of policy innovation with the Commission’s proposals for a new approach to EC water policy in 1997. This new approach has been incorporated in the Commission proposal for a Council Directive establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. The Commission proposal, on which the Environment Council reached political agreement on 11th March 1999, suggests repealing much of the earlier legislation on water quality to take account of advancements in techniques for controlling pollution and managing water as an environmental resource. This paper reviews the main arguments for a new approach to EC water policy and seeks out evidence of regulatory failure and the need for re-regulation in this area of EC environmental policy.
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