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CLEER WP 2013/5 - Douma, Van der Velde (eds.)

EU Environmental norms and third countries: The EU as a global role model?

Wybe Th. Douma and Steffen van der Velde (eds.)

CLEER's latest research project on ‘Commercial power Europe: advancing societal and environmental goals through trade relations’ aimed to assess the EU’s mission and potential to, and actions in employing economic ties towards third countries so as to promote ‘European values’ beyond its commercial interest. The aim was to identify the normative framework and policy instruments that fit best the EU’s ambition to employ its commercial ties and global presence for values and goals that go beyond trade advantages and which can be applied in a consistent and influential manner and even serve for other countries and multilateral organisations as examples to follow.

The present Working Paper collects the majority of the presentations of the second CLEER Workshop organised under this research project, held on 19 April 2013 at the T.M.C Asser Institute in The Hague. The Working Paper focuses on the modalities that the EU applies in its relations with third countries in order to protect the environment and promote sustainable development. After the introduction by the editors, a broad overview of legal challenges is presented by Ludwig Krämer. Voluntary agreements, certification etc. are discussed by Reinier de Man. Special attention is given to climate change, inter alia where the successes and failures of EU climate diplomacy (by Leonardo Massai) and application of the EU emissions tradind system to non-EU airlines (by Suzy Huber) are concerned. The topical theme biofuels is discussed in the light of the EU-Brazil relationship (by Stavros Afionis). Together, the authors shed light on the manner in which the EU tackles the promotion of sustainable development of the Earth, as laid down in Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union since Lisbon, and where there is still room for improvements in acting as a global role model for sustainable development and environmental protection norms.

The research project was supported by the European Union under its Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP).


 Workshop on

 ‘EU environmental norms and third countries:

the EU as a global role model?’


 19 April 2013, T.M.C. Asser Instituut, The Hague


Preliminary Conference Programme


Register here


 The workshop is the second event of CLEER’s ‘Commercial power Europe: advancing societal and environmental goals through trade relationsproject, implemented with the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) of the European Union.


The Treaty of Lisbon formally introduced a role for the EU in promoting sustainable development outside its own territory. The EU is thus asked to exert influence globally and pursue sustainable development objectives beyond its commercial interests. It is doing so through sustainability criteria for biofuels exported to Europe that should prevent destruction of tropical forests, by new rules on the import of wood into Europe that should stimulate sustainable forestry (FLEGT regulation), and by having both EU and non-EU airlines flying to Europe join in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS). A similar ´unilateral´ move is being investigated for the maritime transport sector if negotiations in international fora remain without result, as they did for aviation. Furthermore, the Commission, the EBRD, the EIB a.o. committed themselves to apply EU environmental standards to projects financed outside the EU.


Questions arising here include: (i) does the EU use its commercial and other instruments for sustainability purposes in an efficient, consistent and credible manner vis-à-vis its trading partners?; (ii) how are sustainability objectives to operate in the new EU investment policy?; and, (iii) could these EU practices form a workable example globally for international (economic) organizations or guide policies of other countries?


The workshop is structured so as to follow up and expand on the focus of the CLEER workshop of 9 November 2012 on ‘Linking trade and non-c0mmercial interest: the EU as a global role model?’. The organisers invite academics, legal and policy experts, policy-makers, stakeholders and practitioners to discuss the modalities of the EU employing trade and other instruments so as to promote sustainable development including protection of the environment. 

Particular attention will be given to issues such as the quest for consistency in the conduct of EU external policy and institutional coordination within the EU, the ongoing drafting of the EU investment policy and the WTO compatibility of the instruments employed by the European Union.


The event is free of charge. More information will be announced on the CLEER (, European Environmental Law Network ( and Asser ( websites.




Centre for the Law of EU External Relations (CLEER)

European Environmental Law (EEL) Network



T.M.C. Asser Instituut, The Hague, The Netherlands