The Internal Aspects of Good Neighbourliness in the EU: Loyalty and Values
Dimitry Kochenov and Elena Basheska (eds.), Good Neighbourliness in the European Legal Context, Leiden/Boston MA: Brill Nijhoff, 2015, pp. 57-79.
27 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2015 Last revised: 7 Mar 2018
Date Written: January 11, 2015
This contribution argues that the legal context of the EU is substantially different from the classical context within which the international law principle of good neighbourly relations is usually deployed, altering the traditional understanding of the principle to a great degree. Firstly, to be a good neighbour in the context of the Union implies not only respect for international law vis-à-vis neighbouring states and a strict adherence to the acquis. It also indispensably implies strict adherence to the values of the Union, including democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights – if not justice and minority protection. Being a good neighbour in the EU thus means being a particular type of state, embracing a particular type of constitutionalism. Secondly, the principle of good neighbourly relations, particularly in the context of EU enlargements and EU citizenship, implies that the Member States should be ready to adapt their national laws to the Union reality even outside the context of the EU acquis. In other words, having legitimate regulation in place, which is not in breach of international or EU law per se, can still amount to a violation of the principle of good neighbourly relations in the Union context. The examples of EU pre-accession conditionality in the fields of democracy and the rule of law, and of the recent reforms of the Slovak and Hungarian citizenship laws both suffice to make this point. Given the specificity of the legal reality of interdependence that the Union has shaped, it is perfectly legitimate to expect the EU to intervene should some Member States fail to internalise this special EU reality and cause negative externalities which start to affect others.
Keywords: values, EU Law, loyealty, good neighbourliness, citizenship, enlargement, hungary, slovakia, principles of law
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