In times of recession, politicians’ focus is on the economy, and policies viewed as “non-economic” tend to take a back seat. Despite its long-standing narrative of economic/environmental integration, the EU has been no exception, and the Juncker Commission looks set to continue this trend. This paper considers whether the EU’s integrationist narrative matches reality, and argues that law, and the protection of the constitutional imperative of environmental protection by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), assumes even greater importance in times of economic hardship. It considers some of the large number of recent CJEU judgments on the economic/environment interface, which show that the CJEU is stepping up to the plate, and continues to be the most thoroughly integrationist of the EU institutions.
Suzanne Kingston is a senior lecturer at University College Dublin and a barrister at the Irish bar. Significant publications include the monograph Greening EU Competition Law and Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and (as editor and contributor) European Perspectives on Environmental Law and Policy (Routledge, 2012; paperback 2014). Suzanne was previously a référendaire in the cabinet of Advocate General Geelhoed at the European Court of Justice. In spring 2014, Suzanne was international visiting professor of law at Columbia Law School, New York. Previously, she has been a visiting lecturer at Cambridge University, the University of Leiden, Queen's University, Belfast, and Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto. She is a graduate of Oxford University (BA in Law) and the University of Leiden, the Netherlands (LL.M. in European Community Law, Ph.D.).