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This book undertakes a critical appraisal of the concept of sustainable development in the European Union. In addition to existing issues of sustainability, it examines the development of a European “general principle” of sustainable development. This original, critical approach examines legal, political, and economic implications of the emergence of the principle and places the impact of such in local, national, intranational, and international contexts. While essentially focusing on the development of the principle, the discussion also includes a normative assessment of current policy and practice, and appraises European efforts in the light of international goals.