Thursday 11 September 2014

Strong Constitutional Basis – Weak Environmental Policy. How could be the Environmental Policy Unconstitutional? – The Case of Hungary

Abstract: This paper examines the paradoxical relationship between the new Hungarian Constitution (Fundamental Law) and the inefficient Hungarian environmental policy, and also referring to the fundamental role of international (and EU) environmental law in the Hungarian environmental policy. This paper proposes the hypothesis – with the demonstration of the  case of Hungary – that in the 21. century procedural environmental rights, under the concept  of environmental democracy, are essential factors of environmental issues: on one side these rights are part of the (customary) international law, and on the other side they need to be incorporated into the constitutional system. The new Hungarian constitutional system (adopted in 2011), in spite of having the new green values incorporated, does not seem to be concerned about the procedural environmental rights. The main pillars of environmental democracy (access to information, public participation, and access to justice) have not been incorporated into the Constitution. Although constitutional environmental rights are the ultimate drivers for enhancing environmental policy, without the guarantee of procedural environmental rights this development may be way too weak. Currently the Hungarian environmental policy is under no civilian and/or professional control by the political community. Without procedural rights the constitutional environmental rights cannot work constitutionally. It will be argued here that the environmental democracy is based on communicative political structure and policies. This communicative structure is almost entirely missing from the Hungarian political sphere. The strong constitutional bases are farless than enough to develop Hungarian environmental goals and policies. The procedural side of environmental democracy and the effective deliberative political structure need to be enhanced in Hungary.