Environment and the Single Market
University of Konstanz, Germany
Policy Studies Institute, London, United Kingdom
Adelphi Research, Berlin, Germany
The project starts from the observation that in the European Union, a harmonized approach to environmental standards is still missing in a number of policy areas. While many commonly agreed objectives exist on the European level, a relatively flexible approach in Community environmental legislation often leaves it to the Member States how best to achieve these objectives. Consequently, cross-national differences in environmental standards persist. Stakeholders and academics dispute about the extent such differences in environmental standards might cause competition distortions and what effects such distortions might have.
Against this background, the project seeks to advance the understanding of the relationship and interactions between European environmental policy and the European Single Market. Essentially, it shall provide answers to the following key questions:
- For which issue areas of European environmental policies a standardisation is missing in the EU Member States? What are the determinants of the variance in the implementation?
- In how far does the lack of standardisation lead to distortions of the Single Market and possibly to distortions of competition? How can Single Market policies reinforce European environmental policies?
- What are the options for change in the face of upcoming initiatives for further development of the Single Market? How are these options perceived by experts and stakeholders?
Ultimately, the project will develop and propose policy options that may help to overcome competition distortions caused by lack of standardisation of environmental policies, that reduce tensions between environmental and Single Market policies, and that maximize synergies between these policies.
To this end, theoretical insights about the relation of environmental standards and competition will be collected and reviewed. Case studies on European policies and their implementation in the Member States will be carried out to gain an in-depth understanding of the possible competition distortions caused by European environmental policies. The findings will be discussed against the background of the emerging renewal of European Single Market policies. Eventually, ideas and options will be developed how environmental and Single Market policies can be reconciled and mutually reinforced.