We can date the emergence of environmental preoccupations in the 1970’s, with the two oil crisis in 1973 and 1979. But it is in 1972 that the way to bring a common policy concerning the protection of the environment into play is open, during the heads of state and government conference, in Paris.Since what, the European environmental policy has progressively involved, from minimal and thematic legislations to a global and integrated strategy. The Treaty of Amsterdam has reinforced the importance of environmental policy in the European Union, and especially the notion of sustained development. In 1986, the Single Act stated the basis and principles by integrating to the Treaty of the EuropeanEconomic Community a seventh title: “the Environment”, and said it would be taken into account for all communitarian policies. Now, it is one of the main objectives of the European Union policy. The European Union applies the strictest environmental norms in the world; they represent the fruit of decades of hard work and concern several fields. Today, the priorities are the fight against theclimate change, for the preservation of biodiversity, the reduction of pollution effects upon health and the responsible use of natural resources. Those objectives of environmental protection can also be levers for economic growth because they stimulate innovation.
So, we can wonder how environment is represented in European policies and decisions taken.
To answer, we can first analyze the place forthe environmental policy in European policies, the fields concerned, then, how it is concretized in different policies, and what is done to promote environmental protection.
First, we can say that environment concerns the future; that is why it is so important to deal with it in politics. This is one of the issues in European Union policies which must be thought to the long term, hence theidea of sustained development. The environmental issue is linked to politics because every politics decision is studied in view of the environmental consequence it could raise and vice versa. That is why the European Institutions are in the heart of each environmental decision. For example, the European Parliament is behind a great number of environmental legislative measures, like the evaluation ofthe incidences upon environment, the free access to the information and the label for ecological products. The Treaty of Amsterdam has reinforced its role by extending the co-decision process.
Furthermore, now the environmental issue is one of the main objectives of the European Union policy, it implies a great place in the European economic field. We can take the example of the LIFE program. Itis the European Union funding instrument for the environment. Its objective is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of the European Union environmental policy and legislation. It co-finances pilot and demonstration projects with European added value. LIFE is set in three steps: LIFE I (1992-1995), LIFE II (1996-1999) and LIFE III (2000-2006). LIFE has helped to financemore than three thousands projects across the European Union. The current phase of the program is LIFE+ (2007-2013), it has three fields of action: “Nature and biodiversity”, “policy and governance”, and “information and communication” to make European citizens aware of environmental issues.
To underline the importance of the environmental issue, some objectives have been written in the treaties.Indeed, the European law concerning environmental protection dates the heads of state and government conference, in October 1972, which judged that a common environment policy was a good solution to protect environment. In February 2000, 708 communitarian juridical texts have been adopted in this field. The framework of this legislation is constituted by the different action programs, of which...