The EU Rule of Law: Cutting Paths through Confusion
22 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2008 Last revised: 30 Sep 2009
Date Written: December 3, 2008
The ECJ has always been outspoken about the essence of the EC as a Rule of Law Community. The notion of the Rule of Law entered the texts of the Treaty and arguably plays a crucial role in the Community legal order, serving as one of the fundamentals of 'integration through law'. Yet, the analysis of numerous studies of the Rule of Law in Community context reveals that the understanding on the Rule of Law as a Community legal construct, as opposed to a notion borrowed from the legal systems of the Member States, is not receiving enough attention. Confusion persists between the Rule of Law as understood in the national contexts of the Member States and the Community concept, which presumably should be governed by EC law alone. This paper aims to bridge the gap between the obvious importance of the Community Rule of Law in the EC legal order and the country-specific vision, ascribed to the Rule of Law in each Member State, which results in a vague and even contradictory understanding of Community Rule of Law in different Member States, threatening to undermine the effectiveness and uniform application of Community Law throughout the entire territory of the Community. A substantive vision of Community Rule of Law is offered as a possible tool to be employed to this effect.
Keywords: European Union, Law, Rule of Law, Etat de droit, Rechtsstaat, European Community
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