Environmental assessments of plans, programmes and projects. Rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union

European Union Publications Office
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The European Union (EU) has one of the world’s highest environmental standards, developed over decades. Environment policy helps the EU economy become more environmentally friendly, protects Europe’s natural resources and safeguards the health and wellbeing of people living in the EU. EU environmental policies and legislation protect natural habitats, keep air and water clean, ensure proper waste disposal, improve knowledge about toxic chemicals and help businesses move toward a sustainable economy. Furthermore, the EU, which is already a frontrunner in the fight against climate change at international level, is expected to further step up its action in the course of its 2019-2024 inter-institutional cycle. On 11 December 2019, the von der Leyen Commission launched the European Green Deal1 as the new EU growth strategy, with view to promoting and facilitating the transition to a climate-friendly, competitive and inclusive economy. EU environment policy is based on Articles 11 and 191-193 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)2. Sustainable development is an overarching objective for the EU, which is committed to a ‘high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment’ (Article 3 (3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU)3. The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (EIA Directive) and the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive (SEA Directive) and the SEA Directives are founded on the Fundamental treaties’ provision concerning environmental actions to be taken by the EUArticle 192(1) TFEU) in order to achieve the objectives of the Union’s policy on the environment. According to Article 191(1) of the TFEU, Union policy on the environment shall contribute to pursuit of the following objectives: - preserving, protecting and improving the quality of the environment, - protecting human health, - prudent and rational utilisation of natural resources, - promoting measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems, and in particular combating climate change.

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