Prof. Dr. Harri Kalimo gives keynote speech: the role of the European Court of Justice in the development of environmental law and policy in the EU

What is the role of the European Court of Justice in the development of environmental law and policy in the EU? This was the question addressed by IES Senior Fellow Harri Kalimo in a key note lunch speech for a group of environmental specialists on Friday 19 February. The group was hosted by a one of the leading members of the European Parliament in environmental affairs, MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen. Ms Pietikäinen is for example the author of the European Parliament’s Report on Circular Economy. Circuclar economy is indeed central also to the theme of prof. Kalimo’s speech, because historically, the Court has approached the environment from the viewpoint of the economy, such as the rules on the free movement of goods. The Court has had to decide whether or not it is justifiable for the Member States to protect the environment, even if it creates barriers on the EU’s internal market. And there seem to be no pause in such judgments: many issues relating to the fast expanding field of renewable energy link back to the same conundrum, as the Court’s judgment in the Åland Vindkraft case illustrated. The Court’s environmental credentials continue to be tested.