What did the Republic of Hungary require to do, to achieve an effective system of environmental law in preparation of joining the European Union?

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Environmental Law

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Economic activity inevitably stress on the environment.

An effective system can help achieve a balance between these too often competing forces. Membership of the European Regime requires such an effective system of law.

What did the Republic of Hungary require to do, to achieve an effective system of environmental law in preparation of joining the European Union?

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Research Report

I began my research with hard copies. I started with recommended books on the relevant topic. First, I read Environmental Law (Bell and McGillivray). Although, I did not find the latest edition at Stratford Public Library but it was very helpful in identifying principles such as; sustainable development, precautionary principle and the ‘polluter pays’ principle.

I carried on with the research and discovered a book on the Environmental Policy in the European Union (John McCormick), that book assisted me to obtain a wide knowledge of European environmental law.

I started to search journals, European Environmental Law Reviews and the Journal of Environmental Law at London Met Library. Scanning through the headings and further reading, I located articles relating to Hungary and environmental implementation procedures. I took notes from those relevant Reviews between 1992- April 2004.  

Following some references from the above journals I was led to ENDS Report but, due to its unavailability at our university, I registered online and searched for some up-to-date news and narrowed the search for Hungary recent environmental issues. The major case I found was that of a cyanide spill spread from a Romanian factory to a Hungarian ‘Tisza’ river in which thousands of fish were killed, described as the region’s worst environmental pollution incident. I have included in my work but the same incident happened on 12 April this year. Also the issue of Hungary’s ban on genetically modified (GM) maize. Commission allowed the ban on 18 February this year.

Later on, I went to UCL (University Collage London) Library and found extensive resources, most of the books, articles and journals I studied, I found there, including the ENDS Reports and the book Our Common Future which clearly states how poverty and economy is destroying our planet and I used quotations from the later book to start my introduction and to finish my conclusion.

Although, I had problems finding cases but eventually I came across International Environmental Law in National Court book, however I had still not found any cases on the failure of Hungary to implement its directives.

Therefore, I went on to westlaw, lexis-nexis and also the European Union’s website. I discovered very few cases, some of them was not in English.(mainly French)

Online registration of ENDS Europe gave me daily emails on recent articles of European environmental issues, where I found the case, Commission v Hungary where Hungary received the first written warning for failing to implement nature protection law and that the EU Habitats law is incomplete. The action processed under Article 226.

On the 16/04/2009 I called Dr Paul Ashley Director of Environment Management in the UK to ask as to the implications of non implementation of the Habitats Directive, where there was no helpful response.

Due to personal reasons I had to travel to Hungary, where I took the opportunity to do some research in the ‘Halis Istvan City Library’ (possess an impressive catalogue) and found out how Hungary developed since1989 (transition) expressing with diagrams, that I attached to my work.

Also, I came across with journals on the ‘green police’ how they enforcing the law.

Had answers to questions like what is the priority in Hungary, how Hungary financing the projects on sustainable development, what areas are problematic and so on. All these issues included in the work.

Throughout my research, my strategy was to seek whether Hungary applies correctly the precautionary principle and how Hungary worked its way through to join the EU. Most importantly, how the economic activity and growth can change the environment.

‘The environment is everything that isn’t me’

(Albert Einstein)


‘What is needed now is the new era of economic growth – growth that is forceful and at the same time socially and environmentally sustainable.’

There are moral bases on which environmental law rests, but there can be discerned a number of fundamental principles which, while not law themselves, nevertheless serve to underpin and guide the development and application of the rule of law. These principles are; sustainable development, precautionary principles, ‘polluter pays’ principles.

Sustainable development is a concept of raising income coupled with increases in educational standards placing value on the environment.

On precautionary principle there are three formulation that law could require; 1.progress until a project is judged innocent, 2.ordinary progress until findings of guilt are made, 3.no progress until intensive research has been conducted into a purposed process and its innocence has been demonstrated.

In the centrally planned economy, the state was invariably polluter and environmental rule enforcer; it was in its self-interest to perpetuate artificial economic development which did not favour energy sufficiency, conservation of raw materials, or prevention of pollution.

Consequently, economic mismanagement and pursuit of political interests rendered environmental protection relatively unimportant.

Hungary has signed the Europe Agreement in December 1991, although the official application for membership of the European Union has only been submitted in March 1994.

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Central Fund of Hungary for Environmental Protection Act LXXXIII of 1992 came into force in 1 January 1993, established among other special funds. The purpose of the Act was to support the establishment of an economic structure protecting the environment, avoiding environmental damage and to maintain protected natural values and areas. Furthermore, Hungary raised money on fuel tax, income tax and other incomes. ‘There is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people’.

The new statute had languished in various drafts since 1990 (after the transition) and ...

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