Piet Eeckhout


This Essay discusses a number of themes which show the growing influence of European Union ("EU") law. Four themes were chosen to illustrate that influence. The themes are interconnected, and hopefully bringing them together allows the reader to get a sense of the unique experiment which this "new legal order" continues to conduct. Part I examines the EU's own "federal question:" what exactly is the scope of EU law, and how is it determined? How does the case law, in particular that of the EU's supreme court, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ"), determine the boundaries of the EU law territory? These questions are examined in various parts of EU law, including, for example, rights of free movement, residence, and non-discrimination conferred on EU citizens. Part II then looks at the other side of the coin: the relationship between EU law and international law. The focus of this section is the recent Kadi judgment concerning counterterrorism. This judgment confirms the autonomy of EU law, even in the face of United Nations ("U.N.") Security Council resolutions and the absence of fundamental rights in the decision. Part III concerns the relationship between economic freedoms and the protection of human rights. This is an area in which the ECJ is able to make a specific contribution, as it is often confronted with questions of how to balance free trade and free movement with human rights protection. Part IV focuses on the cardinal principle of EU law: its primacy over conflicting national law.