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The Inconsistent Implementation of the Environmental Laws of the European Community

August 1992

Citation: ELR 10523

Author: Jody Meier Reitzes

Editors' Summary: The Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community (EEC Treaty) was intended to create a unified European market. The 1987 Single European Act, which amended the EEC Treaty, provided the legal framework to achieve that goal by 1992, and added provisions for a common environmental policy. Despite recognition by European Community (EC) Member States of the need for a common environmental policy, EC environmental legislation has not been uniformly implemented and enforced in Member States. The author examines the inconsistent implementation of EC environmental legislation and discusses the legal situation that allows for varied implementation. She compares this situation to the situation in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s when U.S. environmental law faced federalism problems. The author concludes that a remedy to the EC's problem would be to adopt a stronger enforcement policy that sanctions Member States that do not properly implement EC environmental directives.

Ms. Reitzes is an associate in the Environmental Department at Dickstein, Shapiro & Morin in Washington, D.C. She received a B.A. magna cum laude from Tufts University in 1985, where she majored in Economics and French, and received a J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1991. From 1985 to 1986, Ms. Reitzes was a Fulbright Scholar in Brussels, Belgium, where she researched and studied the laws of the European Economic Community at the Institut d'Etudes Europeennes.

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