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The Debate about a European Institutional Order among International Legal Scholars in the 1920s and its Legacy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 June 2012

JEAN-MICHEL GUIEU*
Affiliation:
University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne – UMR ‘IRICE’, 1 rue Victor Cousin – 75005 Paris, France; Jean-Michel.Guieu@univ-paris1.fr

Abstract

The inter-war period is a forgotten moment in the debate about a European institutional order amongst legal scholars. Although the European Communities established in the 1950s did not derive directly from the institutional schemes of the 1920s, the earlier period played an important role in the building of a specifically European legal doctrine. The failure of the universalist League of Nations led a certain number of international jurists, particularly French ones, to support regional solutions as an alternative. A European legal framework was thus seen as a possible way of adapting international law to meet the goals of peace and stability.

La question d'un ordre institutionnel européen: le débat international parmi les juristes pendant les années 1920 et ses suites

La période de l'entre-deux-guerres représente un moment crucial (quoique plutôt oublié) du débat entre juristes sur la question d'un ordre institutionnel européen. Même si les Communautés européennes établies dans les années 1950 ne tirent pas directement leur origine des schémas institutionnels des années 1920, cette période peut être considérée comme ayant joué un rôle important dans la construction d'une doctrine juridique européenne. L'échec des ambitions universalistes de la Société des Nations conduisit en effet un certain nombre de professeurs de droit international, particulièrement français, à soutenir des solutions régionales et européennes. L'organisation juridique de l'Europe fut alors envisagée comme une réponse possible en vue d'adapter le droit international aux nécessités du temps présent.

Internationale rechtswissenschaftler und die frage einer europäischen institutionenordnung in den 1920er jahren

Die Zwischenkriegszeit ist ein vergessener Moment in der Diskussion um eine europäische Institutionenordnung unter Rechtswissenschaftlern. Wenngleich die in den 1950er Jahren gegründeten Europäischen Gemeinschaften nicht direkt von den Institutionensystemen der 1920er Jahre abgeleitet waren, spielte der frühere Zeitabschnitt eine wichtige Rolle beim Aufbau einer speziell europäischen Rechtsdogmatik. Das Scheitern des universalistischen Völkerbunds führte dazu, dass eine Reihe internationaler, vor allem französischer Juristen stattdessen regionale Lösungen befürworteten. Ein europäischer Rechtsrahmen wurde daher als eine Möglichkeit zum Anpassen des internationalen Rechts betrachtet, um die Ziele Frieden und Stabilität zu erreichen.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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References

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23 Georges Scelle, ‘La crise de la SDN’, La Dépêche (18 May 1926), 1.

24 Ibid., 1.

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28 Ferdinand Larnaude (1853–1942) was professor of public law and dean of the law faculty at the University of Paris. He had been one of the two French representatives (with Léon Bourgeois) to the commission on the League of Nations (chaired by Wilson) at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

29 Albert Geouffre de Lapradelle (1871–1955) was professor of international law at the Paris faculty of law and a legal adviser to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1919–1934).

30 UJI (1926), 239.

31 Ibid., 288.

32 For the continuing influence of Verdross on post-war German debates on European law, see the contribution by Bill Davies in this special issue.

33 Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894–1972) published his programmatic book Paneuropa in 1923 and launched his pan-European movement at the same time in Vienna. In his mind a continental Europe gradually evolving into a federation would be able to win back the world power status it had enjoyed until 1914.

34 Politis, ‘La Pan-europa’.

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40 See Dréau, Christophe Le, ‘Quelle Europe? L'Europe franco-britannique: Les projets d'union franco-britannique (1938–1940)’, in Rücker, Katrin and Warlouzet, Laurent, Which Europe(s)? New approaches in European Integration History (Brussels; P. I. E. Peter Lang, 3rd edition, 2008), 39 ffGoogle Scholar.

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54 Ibid., 26.

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63 Mirkine-Guetzevitch and Scelle, L'Union européenne, 26.

64 Joseph Barthélemy (1874–1945) was a French professor of constitutional law at the Law School in Paris and at the École libre des Sciences Politiques. He also was deputy from 1919 to 1928 (representing the centre right).

65 Joseph Barthélemy, ‘Le problème de la souveraineté des Etats et la coopération européenne’, Revue de droit international (1930), 435.

66 Ibid., 473.

67 Ibid., 422.

68 Ibid., 428.

69 Ibid., 421.

70 See for instance Breuer, Martin and Weiss, Norman, eds., Das Vertragswerk von Locarno und seine Bedeutung für die internationale Gemeinschaft nach 80 Jahren (Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 2007)Google Scholar.

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73 See similar references to ‘ius gentium’ in Karin Van Leeuwen's article in this special issue.

74 Le Fur, ‘Philosophie’, 580, 582.

75 Mirkine-Guetzevitch and Scelle, L'Union européenne, 28.

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77 Georges Scelle, ‘Essai relatif à l'Union européenne’, Revue générale de droit international public (1931), 11.

78 Barthélemy, ‘Le problème’, 440.

79 Extract from a speech by Louis Le Fur, in UJI (1930), 163.

80 Scelle, ‘Anticipations d'ordre juridique’, 1297.

81 Barthélemy, ‘Le problème’, 437.

82 UJI (1930), 195–204.

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96 Cohen, ‘Le plan Schuman’, 658.

97 Koskenniemi, The Gentle Civilizer, 345–6.

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99 Pistone, Sergio, The Union of European Federalists (Milano: Giuffrè Editore, 2008), 62Google Scholar.

100 Cohen, Antonin, ‘La constitution européenne: Ordre politique, utopie juridique et guerre froide’, Critique internationale, 26 (Jan. 2005), 126CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

101 Bailleux, Julie, ‘Comment l'Europe vint au droit: Le premier congrès international d'études de la CECA (Milan-Stresa 1957)’, Revue française de science politique, 60, 2 (2010), 302CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

102 Ibid., 307.

103 Ibid., 312.

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