Sustainable Development, EU Law and Companies: The EU Law Framework for the Sustainable Companies Project
First Sustainable Companies Workshop, Oslo, January 2010
16 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2010 Last revised: 5 Dec 2014
Date Written: November 21, 2010
Traditionally, the European project tends to be perceived as an economic one, with focus on the main tools - the internal market and notably the freedom of movement for goods, services, labour and capital and the freedom of establishment for companies. This in turn has lead to the overarching objectives coming into the background, with the means being confused for the goals. In that light the issue of sustainable development in an EU law perspective could be seen purely as a matter of restrictions that EU law poses for national legislators wishing to protect the environment and promote a sustainable development. Certainly national legislators have to respect the Treaty freedoms and avoid discrimination, unless that which may be substantiated in a manner that the Court of Justice of the European Union will accept. Certainly sections of EU’s secondary legislation may be criticised for not being particularly environmentally-friendly. However, this is just one part of the picture that EU law paints for us. The intention of this article is to outline the framework that EU law constitutes for the European part of our Sustainable Companies project, with focus on the position of sustainable development as an EU law objective and the principle of sustainable development as it is codified in Article 11 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
Keywords: EU Law, sustainable development, Lisbon Treaty, Article 11 TFEU, Sustainable Companies project
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