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20 J. Consumer Pol'y 1 (1997)

handle is hein.journals/jrncpy20 and id is 1 raw text is: Martin Hedemann-Robinson
EC Law, the Environment and Consumers:
Addressing the Challenge of Incorporating
an Environmental Dimension to Consumer
Protection at Community Level
ABSTRACT. The principal objective of this paper is to stimulate debate about the
current state of the relationship and tensions between consumer and environmental
protection policies at Community level. By virtue of the constitutional changes to
Community Law introduced by the Single European Act 1986 (SEA) and the Treaty
on European Union 1992 (TEU), the European Community (EC) has committed itself
to re-evaluating its core, fundamental aim of attaining completion of market integra-
tion. The EC is now compelled to address whether the development of open and free
market conditions ultimately serves the best interests and priorities of its inhabitants
and whether its original goals adequately internalise their environmental concerns
and demands. This paper aims to assess critically to what extent EC policy and law
have responded to these new challenges and requirements by focusing, firstly, on
the caselaw of the European Court of Justice and, secondly, on policy innovations intro-
duced by and constraints facing the EC legislative institutions. Ten years on from
the SEA, it appears that the Community has barely started to confront the issue of
the consumer-environment interrelationship, with the result that political and legal
developments have been unclear and often contradictory. The Community must begin
to match its rhetoric with definitive action.
For far too long the European Community (EC) has aimed to
serve a particularly narrow welfare perspective of its consumers.
Environmental concerns of consumers have been marginalised. The
EC Treaty has traditionally premised its ultimately most important goal
of raising the standard of living of inhabitants within the Community
on the attainment of frictionless interstate trade and the maintenance
of open and fair competition within the common market. From the
outset, it adopted the assumption of liberal market theory that the
establishment of these trading conditions, in providing the individual
with greater choice of consumables at the lowest price, would
necessarily satisfy consumers' needs. As this paper aims to show,
EC law and policy, notwithstanding the amendments introduced by the
Single European Act 1986 (SEA) and the Treaty on European Union
1992 (TEU), still promotes in various ways the liberal theory that

Journal of Consumer Policy 20: 1-43, 1997.
© 1997 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

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