The EU Normative Power Oscillating Between Autonomous Values and Hegemony: The Emerging Principles of EU Exclusiveness and Supremacy Over International Treaty Regimes

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Kushtrim Istrefi, Graz University, Austria and the University of Prishtina, Kosovo


    The non legalistic discourse about the EU’s external normative power in exportation of its values and norms raise fundamental concerns for coherence of international law. The overarching aim of this paper is to scrutinize the EU normative authority through optics of international law, where the EU inner developments and integration create external implications for international law. If in Costa v. ENEL and Van Gend en Loos the EC Court triumphed over national laws of the Member States (MS) with the principles of supremacy and direct effect, then the ECJ cases of MOX Plant and Kadi should be viewed as permitting the EU exclusiveness and supremacy over other international treaty regimes. International lawyers led by Koskenniemi compared the ECJ reasoning in MOX Plant on Ireland’s violation of the EU law for its recourse to international law with Soviet dissidents, who, by appealing to the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, broke against the hermetic absolutism of the Soviet order. Meanwhile, the Kadi saga landmarks an attempt to expand the EU supremacy over obligations deriving from the UN SC resolutions as long as the latter does not comply with the former. Legitimacy of the two principles for the European lawyers is based on the EU fundamental values and the ‘autonomy’ of the EU ‘constitutional’ treaties which accords the EU legal order a unique status vis a vis other treaty regimes. On the other hand, for international lawyers this inner value based argumentation does not justify the external hegemonic behavior of the EU legal order, which at times appear to be detaching itself from the system of international law. The paper also presents recommendations on how both interests could be simultaneously accommodated with maintenance of the positive impact of the EU normative power while not disturbing the coherence of general international law.