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Law Notes European Law Notes

Introduction To Eu Law Notes

Updated Introduction To Eu Law Notes

European Law Notes

European Law

Approximately 1161 pages

European Law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridge. These notes cover all the LLB EU law cases and so are perfect for anyone doing an LLB in the UK or a great supplement for those doing LLBs abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London).

These were the best European Law notes the director of Oxbridge Notes (an Oxford law graduate) could find after combing through dozens of LLB samples from outstanding law students with the highest resul...

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Curtin’s The Constitutional Structure of the Union: A Europe of Bits and Pieces

Writing in 1992, following the passage of the TEU (Maastricht Treaty), he argues that intergovernmental negotiators succeeded in ‘hijacking’ part of the acquis communiautaire1. Curtin sees the non-unitary structure of the TEU as having no place in a “Treaty purporting to build on the acquis communautaire in order to progress towards “an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.” He advances his argument as follows:

  • The TEU has a non-unitary structure: The TEU established the ‘three pillar’ approach to the EU— the three pillars are: (i) the Community2; (ii) the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)3; (ii) Justice and Home Affairs(JHA)4 —all of which fall under the ‘tarpaulin’ of the EU. There are several significant points to note about the pillar structure:

  • Rationale for the pillar system (from Craig): The Member States (MS) wished for some mechanism through which they could cooperate in relation to CFSP and JHA, since in its absence such meetings would have to be set up to discuss each new problem. This was inefficient. However, the MS were not willing to subject these areas to the normal supranational methods of decision making that characterised the Community Pillar. They did not wish the Commission and the ECJ to have the powers they had under the Community Pillar, because the 2nd and 3rd pillars concerned sensitive areas of policy considered to be at the core of national sovereignty. Thus decision-making under the 2nd and 3rd pillars was more intergovernmental, with Member States in the Council and European Council retaining the primary reigns of power.

  • Curtin argues that the Treaty had a “convoluted structure”. He argues that the JHA and the CFSP are “smaller, more specific in scope, and are, as a general rule, not adjusted to the Community approach,” as they are almost entirely inter-governmental in nature. He goes on to note that “Considerable doubts can rightly be cast as a result on the overall constitutional coherence of the system.”

  • A single institutional framework: Curtin argues that the the claim in Article C that the Union shall be served “by a single institutional framework” is “mere-lip service to an ideal.” He argues that “some of the EC institutions … have been generously put at the disposal of the Union but in a manner different to their classic Treaty functions.” He suggests that the EU has an “institutional ‘géometrie variable’.” In which the CFSP and the JHA pillars largely use the Council as an instrument of intergovernmental cooperation and pass over the other institutions.5

  • Craig notes:examples of a differentiated integration introduced by the Maastricht Treaty were the UK’s opt out from what was then the Social Policy Chapter, the exemption from defence policy provisions of Member States which are neutral or were not full WEU members, and the option for the UK and Denmark to decide later whether to join the arrangements for Economic and Monetary Union.”

  • The acquis communautaire hijacked: Curtin discusses this point from two aspects. First, by examining the ‘special interest’ protocols (the Danish second-home protocol, the ‘Barber’ protocol, and the Irish abortion protocol) and second, by examining the Social Policy Agreement (which was not signed by the UK)

  • Special interest protocols: Curtin argues that “the most serious implication of the inclusion as an annex of the Irish Protocol is its possible precedent effect in a more general way. It implies that it is possible for individual Member States to plead and obtain a ‘ring fence’ of unlimited duration around iter alia specific national constitutional provisions … This spectre of a pandora’ box which has been opened is of course profoundly disintegrative and strikes at the heart of the very uniqueness of Community law, as well as the image that has been carefully cultivated since the early 1970’s that the Community takes its human rights protection seriously.”

  • Social Policy Agreement: This is an agreement between 11 (of the then 12) Member States to implement the 1989 Social Charter. The UK ‘opted out’ of this. The controversial point here is that this is an agreement of only 11 of the 12 Member States —Curtin argues that the “Protocol authorises the ‘group of 11’ to adopt inter-governmental acts amongst themselves (albeit within the framework of the ‘lent’ Community institutions) … What the Protocol does not explicitly do is to confer such acts with the status of Community law. Indeed, the ‘common accord’ of the 12 Member States was precisely that they were not amending the Treaty.”


  • “The result of the Maastricht summit is an umbrella Union threatening to lead to constitutional chaos; the potential victims are the cohesiveness and the unity and the concommitant power of a legal system painstakingly constructed over the course of some 30 odd years.”

  • “It must be said, at the heart of all this chaos and fragmentation, the unique sui generis nature of the European Community, its true world- historical significance, is being destroyed. The whole future and credibility of the Communities as a cohesive legal unit which confers rights on individuals and which enters into their national legal systems as an integral part of those systems, is at stake.”

Table showing the pillar structure of the EU:

Mancini: The Making of a Constitution for Europe:

Central argument: “If one were asked to synthetise the direction in which the case-law produced in Luxembourg has moved since 1957, one would have to say that it coincides with the making of a constitution for Europe.” “In other words, the Court has sought to "constitutionalise" the Treaty, that is to fashion a constitutional framework for a federal-type structure in Europe.” In supporting this argument, Mancici argues:

  • Supremacy, direct effect, and pre-emption: The case law evidences this drive for constitutionalism....

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