Volume 45 (2008) / Issue 6
It is well known that the European Court of Justice has played an active role in shaping EC environmental law. Community competence in the field of the environment was in fact established by the Court in the Adbhu case (Case 240/83), and recent case law indicates that the Court has not grown less bold. This article examines environmental case law from the last five years through the prism of competence (EC vs. EU competence, EC vs. Member State competence, and EC competence vs. international obligations). Several of the cases have implications beyond the field of the environment, not only because of the horizontal dimension of environmental protection, but also since the judgments may give more general indications as to the Community judiciary’s position on distribution of powers and its affinity for teleological interpretations in order to ensure the effectiveness of Community law. Although the case law could be seen as an expression of a more general pursuit of an ever closer union, the author suggests that it above all reflects the importance which the Court awards environmental protection and a conviction that broad Community powers are necessary to ensure its effectiveness.
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