Environmental backsliding in the European Union: towards a principle of non-regression in EU Environmental Law?

Project: PhD

Project Details


This research project aims to investigate the issue of ‘environmental backsliding’, i.e. the weakening or reversal of environmental standards in certain EU member states and its impact on environmental protection. While the weakening of environmental standards below the minimum standard set by the EU is a clear breach of EU law and is dealt with via the enforcement powers of the European Commission, other forms of environmental regression such as national environmental rollbacks that still meet the EU minimum standards are not addressed by EU Law. Thus, this research aims to conceptualise ‘environmental backsliding’ in order to capture the various ways in which it is occurring and to discuss how can it be addressed in EU and national legislation. To this end, the central research question of this research is: What is the potential of a principle of non-regression in prohibiting ‘environmental backsliding’ in EU environmental law? More specifically, the project will firstly delve into defining the concept of ‘environmental backsliding’ by conceptualising its various forms and then it will attempt to explore the extent of ‘environmental backsliding’ in certain EU Member States in specific fields of EU Environmental Law. Drawing from these findings, the research will seek to assess whether an explicit prohibition of regression can be inserted in the EU Treaties or whether this principle can be extrapolated through a combined reading of EU Law provisions. In summary, this research seeks to shed light on a critical issue affecting environmental standards in the EU and propose potential legal and institutional solutions to ensure the continued progress of environmental protection within the EU.
Effective start/end date1/09/23 → …


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