European Environmental Policy

European Environmental Policy

Environmentalists have an ambiguous, even paradoxical, attitude to European integration. Many advances in environmental protection—in relation to water quality, air pollution, or habitat protection—have come from European Union (EU) legislation. Yet many environmentalists, particularly “deep greens” or fundamentalists, remain opposed to the whole notion of supranational integration.

To understand this paradox, one has to go back to the origins of the European project. Jean Monnet and the other “Founding Fathers” hoped to create a United States of Europe through explicitly political means, notably a defense association between France and Germany. When this failed, they fell back on a more indirect, incrementalist approach: creating economic links and emphasizing the material self-interest to be derived from cooperation.

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Lima