The environmental policy is what the EU seeks to do to protect the physical environment. It is at least necessary to pause to consider what environmental policy consists of and what its boundaries are. Despite what is in many ways its global character, the issues on the environmental agenda differ from one part of the world to another.
The policy process is segmented into a number of vertical compartments, but environmental policy is itself in turn highly segmented. Although the EU's environmental action plans represent an attempt to define a set of priorities and policy for the environment as a whole, in effect one has a set of distinct policies related to very specific objectives to the extent that it is difficult to talk of an overall environmental policy. In part, this reflects the extent to which the policy-making process is dependent on the mobilization of scientific expertise. Someone who knows about the dispersal characteristics of an ozone plume from a metropolis may know very little about alternative models of global warming, and will almost certainly know very little about water pollution or toxic contaminants in the soil.
There was no reference to environmental policy in the Treaty of Rome of 1957. ...
What is sometimes regarded as the EC's first environmental directive was passed in 1967 dealing with standards for classifying, packaging and labeling dangerous substances, but its real focus was on the facilitation of trade. Subsequent legislation built on this framework directive, notably the 6th Amendment of 1979 which provided for the pre-market control of hazardous chemicals. This might more genuinely be regarded as an environmental directive.
During initial period of ad hoc, piecemeal expansion in EU environmental policy competence, the Commission proved creative in the use of Article 100, which allowed for the approximation of member state laws which directly affect the establishment or functioning of the common market, and Article 235, which allows for the adoption of Community measures where necessary to attain, in the course of the operation of the common market, one of the objectives of the Community where the Treaty has not provided the necessary powers.
This development of environmental competence was given a major impetus at the 1972 Paris Summit when the heads of government called upon the Commission to draw up an environmental policy and set up a directorate responsible for environmental protection. A step had already been taken in this direction with the formation of an Environment and Consumer However, the development of environmental policy was handicapped by the lack of any basis in the treaties. Environmental measures had to rely on the harmonization provisions of Article 100 or the general provisions of Article 235.
Environmental policy has moved on from simply tackling evident pollution problems such as those of the Rhine or the North Sea, or ensuring that proper regulations are