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5 Macquarie J. Int'l & Comp. Envtl. L. 1 (2008)

handle is hein.journals/macqjice5 and id is 1 raw text is: IV'qJJCEL (2008) Vol 5

REGULATING THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE EUROPEAN UNION:
A CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE GENERAL LAW OF EUROPEAN UNION
EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENTAL RELATIONS
ROSE MWEBAZA
ABOUT THE EUROPEAN UNION
The European Union (EU) is a political and economic community with
supranational1 and intergovernmental2 features. It is comprised of 27 member sates
primarily located in Europe.3 It was founded in 1957 as the European Economic
PhD Macquarie University, Sydney Australia- LLM (with Cert of Academic Excellence)
University of Florida, USA; LL.B (Honours) Makerere University, Uganda.
Senior Legal Advisor, Environment Programme, Institute for Security Studies.
Email: rmwebaza issafrica.org
Supranationalism is a method of decision-making in political communities, wherein power is
held by independent appointed officials or by representatives elected by the legislatures or
people of the member states. Member-state governments still have power, but they must share
this power with others. Because decisions are taken by majority votes, it is possible for a
member-state to be forced by the other member-states to implement a decision. Unlike a
federal state, member states fully retain their sovereignty and participate voluntarily, being
subject to the supranational government only while remaining members.
2     Intergovernmentalism is a theory of decision-making in international organizations, where
power is possessed by the member States and decisions are made by unanimity. Independent
appointees of the governments or elected representatives have solely advisory or
implementational functions. Intergovernmentalism is used by most international organizations
today. Intergovernmentalism is also a theory on European integration which rejects the idea of
neofunctionalism. The theory, initially proposed by Stanley Hoffmann suggests that national
governments control the level and speed of European integration. Any increase in power at
supranational level, he argues, results from a direct decision by governments. He believed that
integration, driven by national governments, was often based on the domestic political and
economic issues of the day. The theory rejects the concept of the spill-over effect that
neofunctionalism proposes. He also rejects the idea that supranational organisations are on an
equal level (in terms of political influence) as national governments.
In the Treaty of Maastricht (Article 49), it is stated that any European country (as defined by
the EUpolitical assessment) that respects the principles of the European Union may apply to
join. No mention is made of enlarging the EU to include non-European countries, but the
precedents of turning down Morocco's application and speaking about Israel's closest
integration, just short of full membership suggests that currently it is impossible for non-
European states to get full EU membership.

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