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EU Environmental Law: From Absence (1957) to Sustainable Development (1992) to Corporate Social Responsibility (2004). Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series Vol. 5 No. 4 February 2005

Smith, Don C. (2005) EU Environmental Law: From Absence (1957) to Sustainable Development (1992) to Corporate Social Responsibility (2004). Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series Vol. 5 No. 4 February 2005. [Working Paper]

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    While much global environmental leadership has traditionally originated in the United States, that is not necessarily the case today. In many instances that leadership has been assumed by the European Union, which has forged ahead on matters of environmental leadership. David J. Vogel, a University of California professor studying business and environmental regulation in the EU and U.S., has said, “If you compare EU [environmental] policy now, it looks a lot like America in the 1970s. In this new generation of environmental issues the EU is moving quite aggressively, while U.S. policy is stalemated.”1 This leadership has, and will continue to, impact businesses all around the world not least of which are located in the U.S. In this regard, the EU has been characterized as having some of the most progressive,2 strongest, and innovative3 environmental policies in the world. Moreover, the EU has been the leading proponent of international environmental measures such as the effort to reduce global warming. In summary, EU environmental policy has become “one of the best known aspects of the EU.”4 As a lawyer representing clients and interested parties who are either thinking about doing business in the EU, are already there,5 or are looking to expand there, it is not a question of whether EU environmental policy is right or wrong—it is simply a matter of understanding what is going on in the EU in order to effectively represent clients’ interests. This is more important today than ever before bearing in mind EU efforts in the context of promoting sustainable development.6 (For the purposes of this paper, the phrase “sustainable development” means meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”7 In more practical terms “it means creating the conditions for long-term economic development with due respect for the environment”).8 This paper will consider EU environmental policy from several perspectives. First, in Section II a brief history of the evolution of the policy will be presented. In Section III the legal bases of the policy are identified. Section IV examines several key pieces of law that U.S. lawyers need to be aware of while Section V. focuses on future initiatives including proposed legislation. Section VI considers several upcoming issues deserving attention, Section VII provides concluding thoughts, and Section VIII includes a list of key EU resources.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > environmental policy (including international arena)
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > law & legal affairs-general (includes international law)
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > sustainable development
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > historical development of EC (pre-1986)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > University of Miami, Florida-EU Center of Excellence > Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2008
    Number of Pages: 17
    Last Modified: 06 Nov 2019 10:26

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