Van Gend en Loos: The Individual as Subject and Object and the Dilemma of European Legitimacy

This essay examines, first, the reasons for the extraordinary impact and iconic status which attached to Van Gend en Loos. It argues that the explanation lies in a confluence of structural factors and not in the "direct effect" doctrine simpliciter. It then looks at the ‘darker’ side of the case — a proxy for governance — its contribution to a European narrative of efficiency which disregards the traditional mechanism of democratic legitimacy.