PhD ceremony Mr. L. Squintani: Gold-plating of European environmental law
|When:||Th 21-11-2013 at 16:15|
PhD ceremony: Mr. L. Squintani, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Dissertation: Gold-plating of European environmental law
Promotor(s): prof. J.H. Jans
Environmental law under the EU Treaties is based on the assumption that Member States will adopt measures pursuing a higher level of environmental protection than that required by Union law, so-called gold-plating. For several years academic argued that this assumption is wrong since, due to economic considerations, member states refrain from gold-plating. Lorenzo Squintani’s empirical data suggest that gold-plating seems more systematic and widespread than previously thought.
In the environmental fields analyzed by Squintani, gold-plating was detected in all of its forms, both in the Netherlands and in other member states. The reasons for gold-plating are mostly related to environmental concerns and legal certainty. In a few cases, gold-plating stems from economic considerations. Finally, it results from inadvertent actions, often linked to unclear Union provisions.
These findings indicate that our understanding on the functioning of the EU system for environmental protection should be reconsidered. At the same time, Mr. Squintani’s research shows that several aspects of the system should be improved. Mainly, to increase the attention paid to the level of environmental protection, opt-out clauses should be preferred to minimum clauses as instruments providing flexibility. Opt-out clauses also provide more legal certainty than minimum clauses. In addition, Union institutions shall provide more awareness about the existence of gold-plating. The quality of national and Union environmental legislation and the functioning of the Internal Market will benefit from this. Finally, Squintani’s book pleads for further research on whether gold-plating leads to economic benefits and to a positive development of Union environmental law. More costs/benefits analyses on gold-plating should be performed accordingly.