Since the adoption and implementation of the EC Treaty, competition law has been one of the cornerstones of the European construction and of the open single market. Derogations to its rules are limited and applied restrictively.
Equally, though at a later stage in the European integration process, environmental protection has also become one of the European Union’s “essential objectives” as the Court of Luxembourg recognised it in its well-known cases Procureur de la République v Association de la Défense des Brûleurs d’Huiles Usagées and Commission v Denmark . Furthermore, under article 6 of the EC Treaty, one of the main principles underlying European environmental policies is that of the integration of environmental considerations into other European policies, including European competition policy.
By nature, environmental protection sometimes requires the conclusion of agreements, the granting of state financial aids or even the exercise of certain activities by a body in a monopoly position. Under those circumstances, environmental law may clash with competition rules.
Dadomo, C. (2004, September). European competition and environmental laws at a crossroad: An environmentally friendly meeting?. Paper presented at Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference 2004