Table of Contents
PART III: THE POLICIES AND FUNCTIONING OF THE UNION
TITLE III - INTERNAL POLICIES AND ACTION
CHAPTER III - POLICIES IN OTHER AREAS
SECTION 5 - ENVIRONMENT
1. Union policy on the environment shall contribute to the pursuit of the following objectives:
(a) preserving, protecting and improving the quality of the environment;
(b) protecting human health;
(c) prudent and rational utilisation of natural resources;
(d) promoting measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems.
2. Union policy on the environment shall aim at a high level of protection taking into account the diversity of situations in the various regions of the Union. It shall be based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay.
In this context, harmonisation measures answering environmental protection requirements shall include, where appropriate, a safeguard clause allowing Member States to take provisional steps, for non-economic environmental reasons, subject to a procedure of inspection by the Union.
3. In preparing its policy on the environment, the Union shall take account of:
(a) available scientific and technical data;
(b) environmental conditions in the various regions of the Union;
(c) the potential benefits and costs of action or lack of action;
(d) the economic and social development of the Union as a whole and the balanced development of its regions.
4. Within their respective spheres of competence, the Union and the Member States shall cooperate with third countries and with the competent international organisations. The arrangements for the Union's cooperation may be the subject of agreements between the Union and the third parties concerned.
The first subparagraph shall be without prejudice to Member States' competence to negotiate in international bodies and to conclude international agreements.
1. European laws or framework laws shall establish what action is to be taken in order to achieve the objectives referred to in Article III-233. They shall be adopted after consultation of the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee.
2. By way of derogation from paragraph 1 and without prejudice to Article III-172, the Council shall unanimously adopt European laws or framework laws establishing:
(a) provisions primarily of a fiscal nature;
(b) measures affecting:
(i) town and country planning;
(ii) quantitative management of water resources or affecting, directly or indirectly, the availability of those resources;
(iii) land use, with the exception of waste management;
(c) measures significantly affecting a Member State's choice between different energy sources and the general structure of its energy supply.
The Council, on a proposal from the Commission, may unanimously adopt a European decision making the ordinary legislative procedure applicable to the matters referred to in the first subparagraph.
In all cases, the Council shall act after consulting the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee.
3. European laws shall establish general action programmes which set out priority objectives to be attained. Such laws shall be adopted after consultation of the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee.
The measures necessary for the implementation of these programmes shall be adopted under the terms of paragraph 1 or 2, as the case may be.
4. Without prejudice to certain measures adopted by the Union, the Member States shall finance and implement the environment policy.
5. Without prejudice to the principle that the polluter should pay, if a measure based on paragraph 1 involves costs deemed disproportionate for the public authorities of a Member State, such measure shall provide in appropriate form for:
(a) temporary derogations, and/or
(b) financial support from the Cohesion Fund.
6. The protective measures adopted pursuant to this Article shall not prevent any Member State from maintaining or introducing more stringent protective measures. Such measures must be compatible with the Constitution. They shall be notified to the Commission.