Environmental Protection in the EU and the WTO: Is Article XX GATT in its Present Interpretation Consistent with the Current Standard of Environmental Protection of the EU? / Antonia Walter

In this essay, I address the different approaches of the EU and the WTO to the trade and environment conflict and find out in how far the present environmental policy of the EU is compatible with the conditions of the WTO’s Art XX GATT. Therefore, I first establish the current level of environmental protection in the EU by analysing the standard aimed
for by the EU and its realization in legislation and jurisprudence. To show how environmental protection works in practice, I analyse selected case law and show how EU courts treat trade restrictions on environmental grounds enacted by Member States. Having evaluated the current standard of the EU, I proceed to compare the result with the WTO. I briefly
explain institutional environmental developments within the GATT 1947, important environmental cases before the establishment of the WTO 1994 and textual changes in the new WTO Agreement. I then evaluate how Art XX GATT is dealt with in key case law and simultaneously compare this to the results of my analysis of similar EU cases. To conclude, I give a brief outlook on pending cases and a summary of the results of my study in both the EU and the WTO ambit. I point out some important differences in legal texts and case law and finally come to give a negative answer to my initial question.

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