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(p. 432) 23. Environmental Policy 

(p. 432) 23. Environmental Policy
(p. 432) 23. Environmental Policy

Vasilis Leontitsis

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date: 09 July 2020

This chapter examines the historical evolution of the European Union’s environmental policy. The environment is a relatively new policy area of the EU. It was not officially created until 1973 and acquired a sound legal basis in the Treaties only with the passage of the Single European Act (SEA) in 1987. When the European Communities were established, environmental issues were low on the political agenda. However, they increasingly became more prominent at both national and European levels, and there is now a comprehensive environmental policy at the EU level. The chapter first provides a historical overview of the EU’s environmental policy, from the SEA to the Maastricht Treaty and the Treaty of Lisbon, before discussing recent developments and some of the major issues of current concern. It also explores the policy’s evolution by drawing on intergovernmentalism, neofunctionalism, and governance theories.

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