The European Court of Justice and the Problem of Conflict between Economic Goals and Environmental Considerations

Document Type : academic


1 PhD of International Law, Payame Noor University, Tehran

2 Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran


There has ever been a conflict between economic interests and environmental considerations. This conflict is more eminent in the legal system of the European Union (EU). EU was founded mainly for economic integration and the elimination of trade barriers, but other issues especially the environment were gradually placed in the organization's objectives. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the EU judicial body that guarantees the interpretation and implementation of EU treaties. This paper, with qualitative study and outcome analysis of several environmental cases in the European Court of Justice, following the analysis of the Court's work on the issue of conflict and the creation of a balance between these two areas has ultimately achieved a solution to this conflict. The ECJ uses tools such as the preliminary reference procedure, the infringement procedure, discriminatory test and the proportionality principle to address these challenges. Although the ECJ still urges on the economic principles of the EU, it can be concluded from its case law that the proportion of environmental measures may alter these principles.


  • الف. فارسی

    ـ کتاب

    • کاتبرت، مایک؛ حقوق اتحادیه اروپا، ترجمه: بهروز اخلاقی و همکاران، شهر دانش، بهار 1380.
    • کدخدایی، عباس؛ ساختار و حقوق اتحادیه اروپا، میزان، 1380.


    ـ مقاله

    • رمضانی قوام­آبادی، محمد حسین؛ «اقتصاد سبز: گامی به سوی تحقق توسعه پایدار در حقوق بین‌الملل محیط‌زیست»، دوفصلنامه دانشنامه حقوق اقتصادی، دانشگاه فردوسی مشهد، شماره 6، 1393.


    ب. انگلیسی

    - Articles

    • Cichowski, Rachel A., “Integrating the Environment: the European Court and the Construction of Supranational Policy”, Journal of European Public Policy,vol. 5, No.3, 1998.
    • Jacobs, Francis, “The Role of the European Court of Justice in the Protection of the Environment”, Journal of Environmental Law, vol. 18, No. 2, 2006.
    • Sands, Philippe, “European Community Environmental Law: Legislation, the European Court of Justice and Common-Interest Groups”, The Modern Law Review, vol.53, No. 5, Sep. 1990.
    • Vogel, David, “Environmental Policy in the European Community.” In Environmental Politics in the International Arena: Movements, Parties, Organizations, and Policy, edited bySheldon Kamieniecki, New York: State University of New York Press, 1993.


    - Instruments

    • Commission of the European Communities, COM(2005) 35 final, “Winning the Battle Against Global Climate Change,” February 9, 2005, Retrieved from: 52005DC0035.14/08/2015.
    • Commission of the European Communities, “Euro-barometer No.1,” April-May 1974, Retrieved from: archives/eb/eb1/eb1_en.pdf. 14/08/2015.
    • The Single European Act, February 17, 1986.
    • Birds Directive, (1979/409/EEC), Council of EEC Directive of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds.
    • Seveso Directive, (82/501/ECC), Council of EEC Directiveof24June1982on the major-accident hazards of certain industrial activities.
    • Treaty of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal, 13 December 2007.
    • Treaty on the European Union (TEU), 2007.
    • Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), 2007.


    - Cases

    • Case 120/78 Rewe-Zentral AG v. Bundesmonopolverwaltung für Branntwein[1979] ECR 649.
    • International Court of Justice [1997], Judgment of Case Concerning the Gabcikovo – Nagymaros Project (Hungary v. Slovakia).
    • Case C-21/76 Handelskwekerij G.J. Bier B.V. v. Mines de Potasses d’Alsace S.A. [1976] ECR 1735.
    • Case C-240/83 Procureur de la République v. Association de defense des brûleurs d’huiles usages [1985] ECR 531.
    • Case C-302/86 Commission v. Denmark (Danish Beer Cans)[1988] ECR 4607.
    • Case C-379/98 PreussenElektra [2001] ECR I-2099.
    • Case C-45/91 Commission v. Greece [1992] ECR I-2509.
    • Case C-387/97 Commission v. Greece [2000] ECR I-5047.
    • Case C-320/03 Commission v. Austria [2005].
    • Case C‑524/07 Commission v Austria [2008] ECR I-00187.
    • Case C-333/08 European Commission v. French Republic [2009] ECR I-00757.
    • Case C‑472/14 Mr Rantén and Canadian Oil Company Sweden AB (‘Canadian Oil’) and the Riksåklagaren [2016] not yet published.