Jean Monnet Center at NYU School of Law




Author: Ramses A. Wessel

Title: The Constitutional Relationship between the European Union and the European Community: Consequences for the Relationship with the Member States


This contribution addresses the question of the complex legal relationship between the European Union the European Community and their member states. It is argued that the legal order of the Communities forms a part of the Union's legal order. In that sense there is a single legal order of the Union, which may even be perceived in terms of a constitution. This constitution may be seen as overarching everything that goes on within the Union, on the basis of both the Union and the Community treaties. Through the unity of the Union's legal order, the member states do not stand in another relation to the Union than to the Communities. With the Treaty on European Union they established a new international legal person, the organs of which on the basis of decision-making procedures are made competent to adopt decisions and to act on behalf of the member states. As the Union constitution is based on an interdependence of all norms in the European Union (including those based on the Community treaties), it becomes increasingly difficult to make a strict separation between the three parts of the Union. Although this paper was originally written in reaction to a paper by Prof. Werner Schroeder, entitled The Constitutional Relationship between the European Union and the European Communities, it can perfectly be read on a stand alone basis as the arguments used by Schroeder are repeated.

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