This essay presents a comparative empirical and legal evaluation of the implementation of the IPPC Directive in eight EU member states focusing on the integrated approach of the directive. The national transpositions left existing national administrative structures and procedures basically unchanged. Holistic integrated permitting does not occur in any of the countries under study. Explaining the findings with incremental political theory, they serve as the basis for some reflections on the planned recast of the IPPC Directive and the prospects for better regulation. This first part of the article displays the basic shortcomings of the IPPC review process (1.) the concepts of integration under the Directive (2.) and the empirical analysis of the national approaches to integrated permitting (3.1 – 3.3). The second part which will be published in the subsequent JEEPL issue explains and evaluates the findings with regard to the pending revision of the Directive.