The European Court of Justice and European Third Country Integration

DCU Brexit Institute – Working Paper N. 11 - 2019

21 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2020

See all articles by Charlotte Sieber-Gasser

Charlotte Sieber-Gasser

University of Zurich - Faculty of Law; University of Lucerne

Date Written: December 16, 2019


While the European integration project successfully strengthened European identity, Brexit, the EEA and Switzerland serve as prominent and constant reminders that European integration – for the benefit of all – should not only come in one-size-fits-all. The EU has demonstrated extraordinary flexibility in the past with regard to (partial) integration of European third countries into the single market. EU market integration today comes in the form of association agreements, the EEA framework, EU-Swiss Bilateral Treaties or, in parts, the Customs Union with Turkey. In the wake of Brexit and as a consequence of a lack of political consensus in Joint Committees of the various EU market integration agreements, however, the EU pursues a new approach to dispute settlement in its relations with European neighbours, switching from the political resolution of disputes to arbitration. Arguably, this new approach is based on recent rulings and opinions of the European Court of Justice and raises questions regarding compliance with the external dimension of the guiding principles of democracy and the rule of law for the EU’s action on the international scene (Art. 21.1 TEU). This article analyses the regulatory scope for dispute settlement in EU market integration agreements and offers legal arguments for politically (more) convincing alternatives.

Keywords: EU, Court of Justice, Internal market, market integration, third countries

Suggested Citation

Sieber-Gasser, Charlotte, The European Court of Justice and European Third Country Integration (December 16, 2019). DCU Brexit Institute – Working Paper N. 11 - 2019, Available at SSRN: or

Charlotte Sieber-Gasser (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Faculty of Law ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006

University of Lucerne

Hofstrasse 9
P.O. Box 7464
Luzern 7, CH - 6000

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