This paper describes the various political and institutional forces which forge environmental policy in Europe, in particular as regards the offshore oil industry. It discusses the relationship between the principal standardsetting body, the Paris Commission, and the Ministerial Conferences for the Protection of the North Sea. It summarises the work of the Paris Commission in setting European standards for the offshore oil industry and concludes with an analysis of the implementation of those standards by the North Sea States concerned. The paper concludes that although there may be broad agreement on European goals for pollution prevention from the offshore industry, individual countries set very divergent standards in order to achieve those goals.

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