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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The European Union (EU), through the European Community (EC), is the only regional organisation that has the declared policy to pursue both the objectives of economic growth and environmental protection. At the international level, the EC has the competence to negotiate and conclude treaties with states that are not members of the EU. EU member states also participate in the negotiation and conclusion of international environmental agreements. As the EU increasingly tries to speak at the international level with one voice in environmental matters, it has the potential of progressively growing into the role of an important negotiator, initiator, and actor that influences the evolution of international law. This article first describes the EU's institutions and procedures, and then traces the development of EC environmental law. It also explores the characteristics of EU environmental law and policy, regulatory tools and approaches (command and control, economic instruments, etc.), concepts and principles in EU environmental law, sustainable development, and environmental rights. Finally, the article addresses lessons to learn from the EU environmental experience.

Keywords: European Union, economic growth, environmental protection, international environmental agreements, international law, environmental law, command and control, economic instruments, sustainable development, environmental rights

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