Sovereignty and Subsidiarity in EU Environmental Policy
Title: Sovereignty and Subsidiarity in EU Environmental Policy
Author: GOLUB, Jonathan
Citation: Political Studies, 1996, 44, 4, 686-703
This article explores the connection between the subsidiarity principle and national sovereignty in the context of EU environmental policy. In addition to providing an historical account of this connection, the article suggests that subsidiarity represents a Janus-faced concept capable of either supporting or undermining the legitimacy of EU environmental policy. By developing explicit criteria by which to apply subsidiarity, a number of areas are identified in which existing EU authority could be replaced by exclusively national action or laws which granted states significantly more discretion over environmental decision making. Examples are then presented where this shift of power back to the member states has already been proposed and in some cases already occurred, recasting the balance between national sovereignty and supranational environmental constraints. Throughout the analysis, particular attention is paid to the efforts of Britain, a primary antagonist in the debate, to preserve its sovereignty over environmental policy.
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