The legal and political interrelations between national and EU energy policy competencies and the actual policies are multifaceted. In order to understand those interrelations properly one has to analyse both the formal competencies of the EU as enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty and the actual EU policies with their direct and indirect impact on the choice of energy sources. The Treaty grants the EU competence as regards (a) the functioning of the energy market; (b) security of energy supply in the Union; (c) promotion of energy efficiency and energy saving and the development of new and renewable forms of energy; and (d) promotion of the interconnection of energy networks. However, Member States remain in control of choosing between different energy sources and the general structure of their energy supply. Any decision affecting this national competence must be adopted by a unanimous vote of the European Council. EU renewable energy support policy needs to develop within the framework of these mixed and multifaceted competences. Our overall argument is that easy fixes do not work. Considering the different national preferences regarding the energy mix, it is premature to ask for a full-fledged EU energy competence leading to a harmonised support system for renewables. Besides which, the emerging climate and renewables policies could also be a driver for deepened energy integration – rather as a bottom-up than a top-down process. In that sense a framework for 2030 with clear goals for climate mitigation, renewables shares and efficiency are of pivotal importance for the transition towards a low carbon economy by 2050.
By means of regulatory cooperation, ttip is to increase the depth of cooperation between the eu and the usa on regulatory issues. This article sketches out the envisioned regulatory cooperation as far as this is possible based on the eu negotiating texts and assesses it from an environmental perspective. In this perspective particular attention need to be paid to differences in the stringency of regulation of sectors of environmental relevance (e.g. food, chemicals and cosmetics) in the us and the eu. As a result, adverse environmental impacts can only be avoided if harmonization takes place at a high level. Sub-statutory regulations and private sector standardization such as iso standards may also be of considerable environmental relevance. The example of manipulated vehicle emissions of nitrogen oxides shows how important even the apparently technical issue of effective verification of exhaust emissions can be for environmental protection. The criteria used to assess risks and deal with uncertainties are highly relevant. The precautionary principle embodied in German and European law can be found neither in us nor in international trade law. In should remain a part of ttip (and more prominently so) and not be sacrificed in last minute negotiations.
Throughout 2011 several institutions endorsed the concept of establishing a European nanoproduct database,1 which would enable consumers and government officials alike to determine which consumer products contain nanomaterials. In keeping with the precautionary principle this would allow measures to be taken in the event of the recovery of a potential risk in the future.2 For while the scope of EU regulatory activities has increased, an instrument is lacking that would across all sectors allow both consumers and government officials to obtain a clear idea of which products contain nanomaterials. This approach would also be in keeping with REACH,3 which also applies regardless of the sector and lays down regulations concerning chemicals and thus also applies to nanomaterials by virtue of their being a specific embodiment of chemicals. However, as all concerned agree, REACH exhibits a certain number of deficiencies when it comes to nanomaterial regulation. The present paper discusses these deficiencies in light of the precautionary principle and at the same time addresses the issue as to whether reforming REACH would obviate the need to establish an online public nanoproduct database.