European Tradition of International Law: Some Remarks about Totalitarian Legacy

The process of EU enlargement towards the East forged the need of a new common ground between the Eastern and Western European perspectives and traditions of international law to create a European vision. Our paper explains this should not be addressed as a mere synthesis between the two, but rather as a reflexive approach, by which the legacy of the East’s totalitarian past¬† is assumed by the West and, at the same time, builds on the pillars of the European culture.¬† In this respect, the common roots of the European culture are traced in the Greek-Roman legacy. Furthermore, it should be well reflected at the Eastern-European tradition of international law during communism which was one of ‘delegitimation’, when the international law was considered a simple tool, whose meaning changed depending on the context it was to justify, without any consistency. This tradition has been followed after the demise of the communism, by the major rupture between law and its actual application. On the other side, the Western European tradition laid on the fear against another European conflagration, federalism and constitutionalism. The paper concludes that in order to create a unitary tradition of European international law, both the West and the East must take as point of departure assuming the Other as Friend (Friendship understood in the Aristotelian terms as Virtue, not Pleasure or Utility).