Interview with Krämer, Ludwig

From the The European Commission 1986-2000. Memories of an institution Collection

Identity Statement

HAEU Reference Code
Interview Informations

Recorded in 19 September 2017 Madrid
Interview by Jan-Henrik Meyer in English

Access Level
Open Transcript, Open Audio

Electronic File



In this interview, Mr Krämer discussed the following topics:
- Childhood, “refugee“ from Pomerania, law studies, Franco
- German agreement, ENA, work as judge in Kiel, European experience as pupil due to Council of Europe’s school day prize 1957, learning languages;
- entering the Commission in 1972 in consumer protection, part of DG competition, environment and consumer protection service 1 January 1973, commitment to “diffuse interests”, European schools;
- moving to environment in 1983, career progression and role of political support;
- Seveso, EP report demanding implementation, application of EC/EU law;
- Birds Directive, cases before the ECJ, collaboration with NGOs, contracts for studies, independence (from national loyalty) and self
- understanding as judge, role of lawyers, leading the unit in Pleinevaux’ stead, 1994 removal from implementation;
- move to waste, court-case challenging reshuffle, waste: making legislation e.g. on “end of life” – considering impact already when making products, advice on Access to Environmental Information;
- Aarhus convention, 2001 shift to Environmental Governance, Access to Information, role of NGOs, environmental liability directive, following US example, polluter pays principle, reducing command and control for economic incentives in 1990s, drawing on Dutch example end of life vehicles, comparison US Environmental Protection Agency and DG Environment;
- environmental information until 2004, retirement, earlier academic work/legal scholarship, PhD in European consumer law, specialist in environmental law, professional independence due to position as judge in Kiel, consultancy work for consultancy Derecho y Medioambiente for different clients, among them Chinese, comparative studies in environmental law;
- language skills, recruitment for DG Environment;
- principles of leadership, hard working young lawyers, in the process of legislation: consultation with EP, interest groups, commissioners, e.g. Margot Wallström, DGs: Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, Marius Enthoven, Tom Garvey, atmosphere in unit;
- Helmut Schmidt, procedure of the infringement case, preparation, cooperation with municipalities affected;
- contacts with other DGs, systematic leakage of DG Environment documents to industrial interest groups by DG Industry, close relations of DG industry and DG Internal Market with industry, revolving doors;
- cooperation with EP, individual MEPs, Birds directive, influence of bird protection associations (also as expert policy makers);
- Berne Convention –lack of Irish/French ratification;
- preparations for Habitats directive, “packaging meetings” to solve issues of non-implement, media use;
- water directives 1976, emission standards vs. quality objectives, UK pressure, avoid legislation and practice that undermines effectiveness, difficulties in controlling implementation in Member States;
- importance of EU as environmental law maker, “rule of law” requires control of implementation, carbon tax, influence of treaty changes, increase in staff, party politics Clinton Davis vs. Thatcher, Ripa di Meana promoting transparency and name and shame, importance of transparency for environmental issues;
- record on progress in environmental policy not very great success, agriculture and water, biodiversity, Chernobyl, nuclear is treated differently, e.g. nuclear waste excluded from waste legislation;
- enlargement, Commissioners Bjerregaard, Wallström, impact of single market, memorable officials.

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