UCL Faculty of Laws


Structural Principles in EU External Relations Law

15 October 2015, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

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Current Legal Problems 2016-17


UCL Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

Speaker: Professor Marise Cremona (European University Institute)
Chair: Professor Sir Alan Dashwood QC (Henderson Chambers)
Admission: Free
Accreditation: This event is accredited with 1 CPD hour with the SRA and BSB
Series: Current Legal Problems 2015-16

About the lecture

This paper explores the role of law, and the Court of Justice, in the external relations of the European Union, and proposes an understanding of that role through the concept of structural principles. It starts from the observation of a contrast.

On the one hand, the reticence of the Court of Justice in shaping the objectives and content of EU external policy; on the other hand the Court has had no hesitation in establishing principles governing the scope of Union external competence, the exercise of that competence and the requirements of institutional balance, and the consequent obligations on the Member States, both of compliance and cooperation.

The Court is in fact engaged in establishing and protecting an institutional space within which policy may be formed, in which the different actors understand and work within their respective roles.

The principles which have been drawn from the Treaties and elaborated by the Court to establish this institutional space we may call ‘structural principles’. These principles are structural in the sense of being concerned with the process of policy-making rather than its content, and in this sense they can be distinguished from the objective-oriented principles of EU external relations policy.

They are structural, and not simply institutional, in the sense of defining and being inherent to the deep structure of the EU, providing a solid foundation for the construction of the EU as an international actor, a treaty-maker, a participant in international negotiations.

They are concerned with the articulation of power of the EU’s constituent parts (including the Member States, who play an important part in building the EU’s international presence).

They are concerned both with the ability of the EU to establish a distinct and autonomous identity as a global actor and to project the policies it has developed, and with its need to operate within a system of international law.

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About the speaker

Marise Cremona is Professor of European Law at the European University Institute, Florence. Between November 2009 and June 2012 she was Head of the Department of Law at the EUI and between June 2012 and August 2013 she was President ad interim of the EUI.

She is a co‐Director of the Academy of European Law and general co‐editor of The Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law, Oxford University Press. Before joining the EUI she held the Chair of European Commercial Law at Queen Mary, University of London.

Marise’s research interests are in the external relations law of the European Union; she is particularly interested in the constitutional basis for EU external relations law, the legal and institutional dimensions of the EU’s foreign policy, and the EU as an exporter of values and norms.

She has published extensively on the external relations law of the European Union, including Developments in EU External Relations Law (Oxford University Press, 2008); EU Foreign Relations Law – Constitutional Fundamentals, edited with B. de Witte (Hart Publishing, 2008); and The European Court of Justice and External Relations Law – Constitutional Challenges, edited with A Thies (Hart Publishing 2014).

She is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Lichtenberg Kolleg, Göttingen; a member of the International Advisory Board of The Centre for European Research, University of Göteborg, Sweden; member of the Advisory Board of the European Foreign Affairs Review; and a member of the Editorial Board of the European Law Review.

About the Current Legal Problems

The Current Legal Problems annual lecture series was established over sixty years ago. The lectures are public, delivered on a weekly basis and chaired by members of the judiciary.

The Current Legal Problems (CLP) annual volume is published on behalf of UCL Laws by Oxford University Press, and features scholarly articles that offer a critical analysis of important current legal issues.

It covers all areas of legal scholarship and features a wide range of methodological approaches to law. With its emphasis on contemporary developments, CLP is a major point of reference for legal scholarship.

Find out more about CLP on the Oxford University Press website

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