On 29 September 2021 the European Union’s General Court annulled Council decisions approving trade and fisheries agreements concluded between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco. The judgment is the latest in an ongoing saga in which the EU’s trade agreements with Morocco have been challenged before the EU courts on the grounds that they violate international law. These agriculture and fishing agreements apply to the territory and territorial waters of Western Sahara, a non-self-governing territory occupied by Morocco, without the consent of the people of Western Sahara.
Jonatan Echebarria Fernández
Surprised by the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum, several professors of the Faculty of Law of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) requested a research project to study the process and consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). Thanks to the funding granted by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Competitiveness (DER2017-88910-P), they followed the negotiations and dissected their results, reporting the main advances and obstacles in the blog of the research project. They wrote several papers in which they disclosed their investigation and held an international seminar at the end of the transitional period in which they presented the outcomes of their study. After having revised the presentations to incorporate the debate and the news of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, most of the presentations are published in Brexit y libertad de establecimiento. Aspectos fiscales, mercantiles y de extranjería, Atelier, Barcelona, 2021, ISBN: 978-84-18244-53-7. Continue reading
The European Union has become an ever more visible and active player at the international level. Legal scholarship has addressed this phenomenon. The field of EU external relations law discusses the legal issues that arise from the EU’s activity on the international plane. Much of this literature is focused on the internal issues that the European Union and its Member States face. In International Law and the European Union, I sought to explore the issues that arise, not only for the EU legal order, but also for international law and for non-EU states.
International Law and the European Union
To do so, the book integrates the perspectives of European Union law and of international law. In researching the book, I quickly realized that there were diverging views about the very nature of the EU and its legal order. As I discuss in Chapter 1 on ‘The European Union in International Law’ both legal scholarship and practice present an ‘EU law’ view and an ‘international law view’ on the nature of the European Union. The EU law view tends to see the EU as a unique legal order, one that has escaped from its international law origins. It is highly influenced by the narrative, established by the Court of Justice of the EU in van Gend & Loos and later judgments, of the Union as a ‘new legal order’. This internal narrative remains contested in international law scholarship, which tends to view the Union as a type of international organization, albeit one that has developed a number of unique features. The aim of the book is not to argue which of these views is ‘correct’. Rather, it accepts that the EU is a unique type of legal entity, and explores how international law concepts and principles have adjusted and respond to these claims. Rather than provide a unitary theory of the European Union that could address the types of legal clashes and conflicts that arise under EU and international law, it explores the ways that public international law addresses legal subjects other than states.