The Autonomy of EU Law: More is Less?

Chapter

Abstract

Sixty years after its launch by the European Court of Justice in the case of Costa v ENEL, the notion that EU law derives from an autonomous source still leads to divergent interpretations. In this chapter, it is submitted that the concept of EU autonomy in effect comes down to a disguised claim to sovereignty. Contrary to what is often believed, such a reading, which is premised on the Court’s insistence on the self-referential nature of the Union legal order, provides a promising point of departure for assessing the manner in which the EU deals and, in the future, should deal with norms that originate in international law. In particular, perceiving the claim to authority in Costa v ENEL and more recent cases such as Kadi as a claim to sovereignty could pave the way for a jurisprudential approach in which deference towards international law is the norm and in which resistance towards external norms is only acceptable if such norms put the constitutional identity of the EU at risk. More autonomy vis-à-vis international law might actually mean less autonomy.

Keywords

European Union United Nations National Court Legal Order International Legal Order 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the author(s) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Constitutional Law and Administrative LawUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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