Though not exempt from the impacts of national practice and thinking, the European Community ("EC") is favored by bonds of law stronger than in other international organizations. The European Community constitutes a new legal order of international law for the benefit of which Member States have limited their sovereign rights, albeit within limited fields. The subjects of this new legal order are not only Member States but also their nationals. Independent of the legislation of Member States, Community law, therefore, not only imposes obligations on individuals, but also intended to confer upon them rights which become part of their legal heritage. The EC Treaty, although concluded by way of an international convention, nevertheless represents the constitutional document of a community of law. The essential characteristics of the Community's legal order are the precedence of Community law over the law of the Member States and the direct effect of its provisions on the Member States and their nationals. . . . Legal cohesion in the European Community is essentially weakened if a conflict arises between the European Community and national courts over the competence to deny the validity or applicability of Community law and the scope of constitutional rules. A study of the relationship between the European Court of Justice and the German Federal Constitutional Court, Bundesverfassungsgericht (“Constitutional Court”), presents this scenario.
A Community of Law: Legal Cohesion in the European Union,
20 Fordham Int'l L.J. 623
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol20/iss3/2