Greening the Internal Market in a Difficult Economic Climate
2008 was a year of turmoil in the financial markets, rapid economic slowdown and the start of recession in several European economies, bank bailouts and growing calls for protectionism. We might expect the principal casualties of these developments to have been European market integration and liberalization measures, the rigorous application of EU Competition Policy rules and the adoption and application of environmental and other measures that impose costs upon European industry. However, it is difficult to demonstrate that the internal market and environmental legislative and policy agenda of 2008 was altered significantly by reactions to the crisis. In 2008, one of the most surprising developments was the success in adopting ambitious targets to cut EU carbon emissions over the next decade. Despite the inevitable watering down of the European Council’s initial goals and the Commission’s legislative proposals and the frequent disappointment of environmentalist groups, this represents a considerable achievement – if not the greatest legislative accomplishment for the EU in 2008.