The Importance Of The General Principles Of European Union Law In Ensuring Public And Private Interests In Environmental Relations

  • H.V. Moroz
Keywords: general EU law principles, properties (values) of legal principles, principle of proportionality, principle of legal certainty, principle of legitimate expectations, environmental sphere, public and private interests.


The article is aimed at studying the content of the general principles of European Union (EU) law, their importance in ensuring public and private interests in environmental relations.

It is argued that the principles of law are based on public interests and needs, so the most important characteristic of the principles of law is their ability to put emphasis on the most important values of public life. It is established that the full potential of the principles of law is best manifested in the administration of justice, most clearly reflected in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, less perfectly - in the judicial system of Ukraine.

The general principles common to the legal systems of the EU member states are the following: 1) the principle of proportionality; 2) the principle of legal certainty; 3) the principle of legitimate expectations.

Performing its functions, the state may intervene in the private sphere within acceptable limits, and the criteria of the principle of proportionality are used to optimize such intervention in order to satisfy the general public interest. The following criteria are defined: 1) the legality of intervention; 2) a legitimate purpose (justification of intervention by the general interest); 3) a fair balance between the interests of property rights and public interests. The intervention should ideally be proportionate, measured, optimal and easy for the entity. In essence, this principle is designed to control the law not only in terms of the legitimacy of the influence of the authorities on fundamental rights but also on its balance in general. Legal certainty requires not only the promulgation of adopted laws or other regulations but also the relative clarity of their content so that individuals can predict and determine their behavior, the limits of manifestation and realization of their interests. The principle of legitimate expectations (reasonable predictability of court decisions) in the procedural sense applies to uniform and consistent law enforcement practice, avoidance of selective justice. The use of the concept of legitimate expectations is effective for application in cases of the protection of private property rights as well as the right to public property and public interests. It is allowed to limit the principle of protection of legitimate expectations, for example, if there is an overriding public interest, which is applicable in terms of environmental relations.

The article argues that the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, as a source of law, provides a legal interpretation of substantive and procedural norms that would be vague without practical explanation. In the meantime, it is argued that in the process of approximating the environmental norms of Ukraine with EU law, the specifics of the environmental sphere and the competitive nature of the interests of entities that implement the corresponding regulations have to be considered.