The Draft Constitution for Europe: Good News for the Environment?

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.

This article outlines the development of environmental provisions in the European Treaties, and examines the draft EU constitution to see if this will add to, or detract from pervious achievements.

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