The Polluter Pays Principle and the EU State Aid Law for Environmental Protection

Kleoniki Pouikli


The "Polluter Pays Principle" (PPP) -cornerstone of the international as well as the european environmental law- presents a complicated and multifaceted nature as instrument of environmental protection. Hence, it constitutes the background for several instruments of European environmental policy such as the environmental responsibility, the environmental taxes and the "green fees", the control of State aids, the system of "tradable permits", the regulation concerning the "Eurovignette". Particularly, with regards to the State aids in the environmental area the PPP has a very crucial role in the framework of the policy developed on this issue by the European Commission. In general, given that the PPP provides for that the polluting undertakings shall bear the costs of their pollution reduction investments, it is clear at first glance that this principle imposes a general prohibition of granting State aids for compliance with the environmental regulations in order not to distort the competition and the function of the internal market. However, the analysis of the EU Guidelines on State Aids for environmental protection, the practice of decisions of the European Commission as well as the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union reveal a different -broader approach- of the PPP. Through the thorough study and interpretation of the abovementioned material, the aim of this paper is, firstly, to confirm via jurisprudential examples the multidimensional content of the PPP and, secondly, to explore its dynamic role at the crossroads of the EU economic law regulations (State Aids) and the EU framework for environmental protection.

Keywords: polluter pays principle, state aid, environmental protection, European Commission Guidelines

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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