Enviromental Protection and Sustainable Development in the European Union: Evolution, Governance and Implications for Competitiveness

Annette Bongardt, Francisco Torres


This article considers how the EU governance set-up envolved with respect to environmental protection and sustainable development. It aims at evaluating the EU´s progress towards creating  the basis for a competitive, low-carbon, European economy (a kind of EU industrial strategy) and sustainable production and consumption patterns. The article concludes that environmental and energie policies have become increasingly Europeanized and come under the single market and competitiveness rationale. It puts forward that the shift to a low-carbon economy is associated with important economic benefits, whereas economic costs appear overrated. However, shortcomings in EU governance sit uneasily with a more coherent approach to sustainable development.

Keywords: Eu governance, environmental policy, sustainable development, single market, competitiveness.

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