nl en

European Environmental Policy


Admission requirements

Registration for the Minor European Union Studies or admission to the pre-master European Union Studies.


The environment is frequently a controversial policy field. Many environmental conflicts play out as confrontations between seemingly mutually exclusive interests – such as the protection of biodiversity and climate change mitigation on the one side, and concerns about economic costs and traditional ways of life on the other. Such conflicts can be fierce, and winners and losers can often be clearly identified. A central challenge is to identify ways to solve such conflicts that are seen as legitimate, even if not all sides can achieve all of their goals. We will discuss the relative merits of political processes, be they in parliament or in citizen assemblies, and court procedures, such as efforts to combat climate change through litigation.

While many environmental conflicts take place locally, much of the law regulating environmental protection in Europe has its origins in the European Union. This course therefore takes as its starting point environmental policy-making in the EU. It covers environmental law on several dimensions: air quality, water quality, bio-diversity, and climate change mitigation. It looks at the types of interests that are represented in the policy-making process, how environmental law is enforced and discusses what can be done to improve the democratic quality of decision-making procedures on environmental issues.

Course objectives

The principal objectives of this course are to achieve a thorough understanding of:

  • The policy-making process in a frequently controversial policy field

  • The substance of EU environmental law

  • Procedures by which environmental law is enforced

  • Discussions about what procedures are mor legitimate than others


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


The course and all its learning objectives will be assessed in two ways:

  • Group assignment: A joint research paper of 3000 words written by a group of 3-5 students over the course of the semester (deadlines will be specified in the first weeks of the course)

  • Final research paper: An individual paper (3000 words) offering an academic assessment of a pressing problem in environmental policy.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the group assignment (30%) and the final research paper 70%).


Any course participant who has not passed the course is eligible for the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

A reading list will be announced before the start of the course.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga