From World Actor to Local Community: Territoriality and the Scope of Application of EU Law
L Azoulai (ed), European Union Law and Forms of Life. Madness or Malaise? (Hart Publishing, 2020) [Forthcoming]
25 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2020
Date Written: March 5, 2020
This chapter offers a reconstruction of the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union in relation to the territorial scope of application of EU law. Thus, it will focus on the manner in which the Court approaches the question of whether EU law should apply to cases that are at least partly connected to non-EU jurisdictions. This is a topic that has attracted significant interest in recent years from EU lawyers as well as experts in public and private international law, given in particular how EU law has been said to take the role of a ‘world actor’ in tackling problems that lack a clear geographical basis, such as the protection of personal data, environmental degradation or competition law. Under the most common understanding, the question of the territorial applicability of EU law is essentially a functional one: the scope of application of EU law will be that which is required by the effective pursuit of whatever goal is at stake, which may mean that in many instances it will apply ‘extraterritorially’. It will however be argued that this leaves aside an important dimension of the territorial applicability of EU law – its contribution to the construction of the EU legal system as a ‘local community’. Indeed, the EU legal system should not only be seen as an institutional tool in the promotion of certain objectives, but should also be understood as a space of inclusion and exclusion. It will not only be argued that this is a necessary dimension to EU law’s scope of application, but also that this dimension is already present in the case law. This will be seen through a study of three different lines of cases, where the Court deduces the applicability of EU law from the location of a legal relationship, the imperativeness of the particular EU legal regime, and the integrity of the EU legal system as a whole.
Keywords: EU Law, territoriality, extraterritoriality, territorial scope of application
JEL Classification: K33
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