On the Way to an Anthroparchic Community of Law. The European Union as the Subject of Global Law

Radosław Kołatek

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21697/priel.2016.5.2.03


According to I. Pernice, the European Union has to be distinguished from an international organization for four reasons at least.First, there is no international organization where citizens have their own political representation and participate in the decision-making process. Second, direct legal action against individuals by directly applicable legislation does not happen. Third, the question of protection of fundamental rights against such ‘international’ power is not an issue. Last but not least, ‘no international organization provides for legal remedies of individuals against measures of that organization since there is no action having direct effect to the individual’. Therefore the author believes that the EU is an organization of citizens albeit having an appearance of an organization between states.

Nevertheless one needs to remember that the European Union was founded as an intergovernmental organization by the European states on the principles of international law. That is why it has to be treated as a legal entity comprising the category of international organizations.

Inasmuch as the role of individuals in the EU law-making process has been strengthened, their position was rather poor at the beginning of the European integration process. A direct right for individuals to submit a proposal for a legal act to the Commission is a great novelty not seen until now. Strengthening methods of democratic law-making by involving the European Parliament as well as national assemblies in the ordinary legislative procedure is again a fresh start. It is much the same with the system of judicial remedies differentiating the EU legal order from the horizontality of classical public international law.

International law as a source of legitimacy for the European Union has always been and is still valid. Nonetheless the history of EU integration demonstrates the continuous evolution of that legal system. Therefore it is increasingly more difficult for lawyers to describe precisely what type of international organization and juridical entity this phenomenon is. It is all the more intricate while seeking a definition in the world of classical international law.

An unravelling comes with Rafael Domingo’s theory as the European Union fulfils Domingo’s conditions to become an anthroparchic community of law. It happens through its legal order and participation of non-state actors in the law-making process. In such a case one can believe this juridical entity is also a subject in global law.

European integration in the perspective of international law has been being widely analysed so one can easily find some critical papers in this field. This subject has also been examined by political scientists. ‘A sui generis political entity’ as a term defining the European Union is well established in the theory of international relations. Les hommes politiques go even further in their descriptions naming the European Union an unidentified political object (UPO) or the first non-imperial empire. Regrettably these terms cause more confusion than explanation.

Despite the fact how descriptions assigned to the European Union are creative and diverse, agreement on what is the actual shape that the EU is taking is by no means easy. The size and functioning of the EU has been shaped and reshaped over the course of history. However the goal of an emerging ‘ever closer union’ is still in search of the paths of real and not ideal accomplishment. In fact, most institutional innovations bear some relation to past experience and borrow from it.


global law; European Union

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