Select Committee on Environmental Audit First Report

The Amsterdam Treaty

25. EU policy is very much Treaty-based and led. The free-standing, Article 6 of the Amsterdam Treaty therefore provides a more concrete foundation for negotiation by those seeking action in this area than existed previously in the Maastricht Treaty. Witnesses felt that Article 6 was adequate and they would like to see how it worked before there were any further treaty changes. Mr Peter Madden (The Green Alliance on behalf of EEB-UK) told us that the focus should be on "turning existing legal language into real change".[20]

26. Mr Meacher thought that it was difficult to see what further treaty changes could be made which would take integration further.[21] He thought that the Amsterdam Treaty already represented an improvement on the Maastricht Treaty in terms of integration. The previous commitment to integration in the Maastricht Treaty had been in the Environment Title rather than the overarching position it now holds in the Amsterdam Treaty. Mr Meacher told us that this placing had been "unfortunate"[22] because those handling specific policy areas were often unaware of Treaty requirements in other areas. We understand this point but remain concerned that Article 6 may still fall within the definition of "other areas" for those concerned with vital day-to-day work on individual policies.

27. The Committee considers Article 6 of the Amsterdam Treaty to be a major step forward in promoting environmental policy integration. However, the Committee is concerned that Article 6 alone may not adequately promote environmental integration and will need to be complemented by specific provisions included in the legislative bases for individual policies. The Committee recommends that the Government keeps the need for further Treaty revision along these lines under review in the light of an assessment in due course of the impact of Article 6.

20  Q64 Back

21  Q128 Back

22  Q128


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Prepared 25 November 1999