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Abstract

The paper discusses the concept of ‘environmental justice’ in the European Union, approaching it from the perspective of the centre-periphery gap in the EU, that is, the divide between the Member States from Western and Northern Europe on the one hand and Central and Eastern Europe on the other. It identifies distributive, procedural and corrective injustices that make the EU periphery, albeit less responsible for historical and contemporary environmental harms in Europe, bear the greater environmental burden, in addition to having less influence over environmental decision-making than the EU centre. The discussion is informed by the ideas that have emerged in US scholarship, especially regarding the concept of environmental justice itself, as well as the critical analysis of the (re)distributive effects of law and the identity critique of law. The paper concludes with a reflection on possible avenues for integrating environmental justice concerns into the EU legal and institutional framework in order to better address the centre-periphery gap and mitigate existing regional inequalities in environmental matters.

Keywords: environmental justice, European Union, centre-periphery gap, distributive injustice, procedural injustice, corrective injustice.