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FROM SPECIALITY TO A CONSTITUTIONAL SENSE OF PURPOSE: ON THE CHANGING ROLE OF THE OBJECTIVES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

  • Joris Larik (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

After the Lisbon Treaty, the objectives of the European Union are more numerous and ambitious than ever. But what is their importance and function within the ‘thickening’ legal order of the EU? Combining insights from both the law of international organizations and comparative constitutional law, the article traces the diverging role of objectives for, on the one hand, a traditional international organization marked by the principle of ‘speciality’ and, on the other, a maturing legal order increasingly exhibiting ‘constitutional’ traits. It argues that in the case of the EU, objectives and competences have developed into two related but distinct norm categories. While objectives serve to bolster arguments to shape such powers, they no longer represent a rationale in their own right for founding competences. The EU no longer justifies its existence solely by striving for a particular set of goals. Rather, these norms represent an entrenched duty to pursue these objectives through the actors, structures and procedures available, regardless of the Union's ultimate form (finalité). Today, the EU stands for certain values and has been endowed with powers, the exercise of which is guided by promoting these various aspects of the ‘common good’.

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1 Art 3(1) EU.

2 Art 3(2) TEU.

3 Art 3(3), first subpara TEU.

4 Art 3(5) TEU. In addition to these general objectives of the EU, the Treaties contain numerous policy specific objectives pertaining to, for instance, its environmental policy (art 191(1) TFEU), external action (art 21 TEU), and as a part of the latter, its trade (art 206 TFEU) and development policies (art 208 TFEU).

5 Notable analyses, albeit many now dated, include Glaesner H-J, ‘Les objectifs de la Communauté économique européenne: origine et développements’ in L'Europe et le droit: Mélanges en hommage à Jean Boulouis (Dalloz 1991) 285; Calliess C, ‘Kollektive Ziele und Prinzipien im Verfassungsrecht der EU: Bestandsaufnahme, Wirkungen und Perspektiven’ (2003) 92 Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie (Beiheft) 85; Reimer F, ‘Ziele und Zuständigkeiten: Die Funktionen der Unionszielbestimmungen’ (2003) Europarecht 992; Kotzur M, ‘Die Ziele der Union: Verfassungsidentität und Gemeinschaftsidee’ (2005) 58 Die öffentliche Verwaltung 313; Sorrentino F, ‘The purposes of the European Union according to the Constitutional Treaty’ in Blanke HJ and Mangiameli S (eds), Governing Europe under a Constitution: The Hard Road from the European Treaties to a European Constitutional Treaty (Springer 2006) 123; and Drescher W, ‘Ziele und Zuständigkeiten’ in Marchetti A and Demesmay C (eds), Der Vertrag von Lissabon: Analyse und Bewertung (Nomos 2010) 59. Note, however, the analysis of the Treaty articles on Union objectives in German(-style) and French commentaries, eg Sommermann K-P, ‘Article 3 [The Objectives of the European Union]’ in Blanke HJ and Mangiameli S (eds), The Treaty on European Union (TEU): A Commentary (Springer 2013) 157; Müller-Graff PC, ‘Verfassungsziele der Europäischen Union’ in Dauses M, Handbuch des EU-Wirtschaftsrechts (loose-leaf commentary, 33rd edn, CH Beck, September 2013); Pechstein M, ‘Art. 3 (ex-Art. 2 EUV) [Ziele der Union]’ in Streinz R (ed), EUV/AEUV: Vertrag über die Europäische Union und Vertrag über die Arbeitsweise der Europäischen Union (2nd edn, CH Beck 2012) 18; and Priollaud F-X and Siritzky D, Le Traité de Lisbonne: Texte et commentaire article par article des nouveaux traités Européens (TUE-TFUE) (La Documentation Française 2008) 35–6.

6 Norman P, The Accidental Constitution: The Story of the European Convention (2nd edn, EuroComment 2005) 65; and Pilette A and de Poncins E, ‘Valeurs, objectifs et nature de l'Union’ in Amato G, Bribosia H and de Witte B (eds), Genesis and Destiny of the European Constitution (Bruylant 2007) 287, 298.

7 For Germany, see Sommermann K-P, Staatsziele und Staatszielbestimmungen (Mohr Siebeck 1997); for France, see De Montalivet P, Les objectifs de valeur constitutionnelle (Dalloz 2006); for India, see Kumar N, Judiciary on Goals of Governance: Directive Principles of State Policy (Anamika Publishers 2005); or Reddy O Chinnappa, The Court and the Constitution of India: Summits and Shallows (OUP 2010) ch 9.

8 See West R, ‘The Aspirational Constitution’ (1993) 88 NorthwestULRev 241; Dorf M, ‘The Aspirational Constitution’ (2009) 77 GeoWashLRev 1631.

9 Balkin J, ‘Original Meaning and Constitutional Redemption’ (2007) 24 Constitutional Commentary 427, 464; further Balkin J, Constitutional Redemption: Political Faith in an Unjust World (Harvard University Press 2011).

10 Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance, signed 2 March 2012 and entered into force on 1 January 2013, <http://european-council.europa.eu/media/639235/st00tscg26_en12.pdf> art 3.

11 See amended constitutional provisions such as art 109 of the German Basic Law, art 135 of the Spanish constitution or art 81 of the Italian constitution, which impose a general obligations to maintain a balanced budget, to which usually certain exceptions apply and the realization of which is to be specified through legislation. See further Fabbrini F, ‘The Fiscal Compact, the “Golden Rule” and the Paradox of European Federalism’ (2013) 36 BCIntl&CompLRev 1.

12 Ipsen HP, Europäisches Gemeinschaftsrecht (JCB Mohr 1972) 995.

13 Pescatore P, ‘Les objectifs de la Communauté européenne comme principes d'interprétation dans la jurisprudence de la Cour de justice’ in Miscellanea W. J. Ganshof van der Meersch: Studia ab discipulis amicisque in honorem egregii professoris edita (Bruylant 1972) 325, 327.

14 Drawing on Joseph Raz's terminology, Raz J, ‘On the Authority and Interpretation of Constitutions: Some Preliminaries’ in Alexander L (ed), Constitutionalism: Philosophical Foundations (CUP 1998) 152.

15 Sommermann K-P, ‘Herkunft und Funktionen von Verfassungsprinzipien in der Europäischen Union’ in Bauer H and Calliess C (eds), Verfassungsprinzipien in Europa/Constitutional Principles in Europe/Principes constitutionnels en Europe (Sakkoulas/Berliner Wissenschaftsverlag/Bruylant 2008) 15.

16 The European Atomic Energy Community continues to be a separate legal entity. See Cremona M, ‘The Two (or Three) Treaty Solution: The New Treaty Structure of the EU’ in Biondi A, Eeckhout P and Ripley S (eds), EU Law After Lisbon (OUP 2012) 40. In addition, the EU has taken over the tasks of the Western European Union, which was dissolved in 2011, see Western European Union, Statement of the Presidency of the Permanent Council of the WEU on behalf of the High Contracting Parties to the Modified Brussels Treaty, Brussels, 31 March 2010.

17 Schermers H and Blokker N, International Institutional Law (4th edn, Martinus Nijhoff 2003) 3647; see also Sands P and Klein P, Bowett's Law of International Institutions (5th edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2001) 1617.

18 See Shaw M, International Law (6th edn, CUP 2008), 261; Dinh N Quoc, Daillier P and Pellet A, Droit International Public (7th edn, LGDJ 2002) 574; Epping V, ‘Völkerrechtssubjekte’ in Ipsen K (ed), Völkerrecht (5th edn, CH Beck 2004) 55, 57–8.

19 Schermers and Blokker (n 17) 158.

20 ibid; see also Klein E, ‘Die Internationalen und die Supranationalen Organisationen’ in Vitzthum W Graf (ed), Völkerrecht (5th edn, De Gruyter 2010) 263, 276; and Shaw (n 18) 1306–9.

21 Jurisdiction of the European Commission of the Danube (1927) PCIJ. Series B, no 14, 64; see also Campbell A, ‘The Limits of the Powers of International Organisations’ (1983) 32 ICLQ 523. Though note also de Witte, who points out that the European Commission of the Danube had ‘very extensive powers’ for an international organization at that time in history, de Witte B, ‘The European Union as an international legal experiment’ in de Búrca G and Weiler JHH (eds), The Worlds of European Constitutionalism (CUP 2011) 19, 23.

22 Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations, Advisory Opinion, ICJ Rep 1949 (April 11) at 174, 180.

23 Legality of the Use by a State of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflict, Advisory Opinion, ICJ Rep 1996 (July 8) at 66, para 25.

24 Certain Expenses of the United Nations, Advisory Opinion, ICJ Rep 1962 (July 20) at 151, 168 (italics in the original).

25 Schermers and Blokker (n 17) 766.

26 (In the original: ‘se profile une finalité plus lointaine, celle de l'unité politique’) Pescatore (n 13) 327.

27 See seminally Haas E, The Uniting of Europe: Political, Social, and Economic Forces 1950–1957 (Stanford University Press 1968); also Sandholtz W and Sweet A Stone, ‘Neofunctionalism and Supranational Governance’ in Jones E, Menon A and Weatherill S (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the European Union (OUP 2012) 18; and Rosamond B, Theories of European Integration (Macmillan 2000) 3142 on Functionalism and 50–73 on Neofunctionalism.

28 See for a historic overview also Glaesner (n 5).

29 Sommermann (n 5) 159.

30 See further on this notion Calliess C, ‘Gemeinwohl in der Europäischen Union. Über den Staaten- und Verfassungsverbund zum Gemeinwohlverbund’ in Brugger W, Kirste S and Anderheiden M (eds), Gemeinwohl in Deutschland, Europa und der Welt (Nomos 2002) 172.

31 Art 1 Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC Treaty) (emphases added).

32 Art 2, first subpara ECSC Treaty.

33 Art 3(a) ECSC Treaty.

34 Art 3(f) ECSC Treaty.

35 Fifth recital of the preamble, ECSC Treaty.

36 Schuman Declaration, 9 May 1950.

37 Third recital of the preamble, ECSC Treaty.

38 Fifth recital of the preamble, ECSC Treaty.

39 This task is related to the common market, which appears rather as a means to an end here ‘The Community shall have as its task, by establishing a common market and progressively approximating the economic policies of the Member States, to promote throughout the Community a harmonious development of economic activities, a continuous and balanced expansion, an increase in stability, an accelerated raising of the standard of living and closer relations between the States belonging to it.’

40 First recital of the preamble, EEC Treaty (original version) (emphasis added); even clearer in terms of continuous evolution is the French version (‘union sans cesse plus étroite’).

41 This development has also been designated as ‘competence creep’, see eg Weatherill S, ‘Competence Creep and Competence Control’ (2004) 23 YEL 1.

42 Art 2 EC.

43 But note already art 3(i) and (k) EEC (original version), on the establishment of a European Social Fund and cooperation with the overseas countries (also in terms of social development), respectively.

44 Art 3 EC. For the concurrent expansion of Community powers beyond the Treaty text, taking also into account its interpretation by the institutions, see Wyatt D, ‘Is the European Union an Organization of Limited Powers?’ in Arnull A et al. (eds), A Constitutional Order of States? Essays in EU Law in Honour of Alan Dashwood (Hart 2011) 3.

45 Art 1(3) TEU (Nice version).

46 Art 2 TEU (Nice version).

47 Art 11 TEU (Nice version).

48 Art 29(1) TEU (Nice version).

49 Art 29(2) TEU (Nice version). Even though these are worded as means rather than actual objectives (‘That objective shall be achieved by’), it would appear more appropriate to consider them as specifications of the general objective. The means to these ends are contained in the measures listed subsequently in that provision (ie closer cooperation between police forces judicial and customs authorities as well as approximation of rules in criminal matters).

50 See Calliess (n 5) 90.

51 Thirteenth recital of the preamble TEU (Nice version).

52 Subsequent amendments to the primary law have thus far left unaffected the objectives of the EU, such as the Treaty and Act concerning the accession of Croatia to the EU [2013] OJ L112/7 or the amendments regarding the European Stability Mechanism adopted by virtue of the simplified revision procedure of art 48(6) TEU (European Council Decision 2011/199/EU of 25 March 2011 amending art 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with regard to a stability mechanism for Member States whose currency is the euro [2011] OJ L91/1).

53 Art 1(3) TEU (Lisbon version).

54 Piris J-C, The Lisbon Treaty: A Legal and Political Analysis (CUP 2010) 65–9; and Van Elsuwege P, ‘EU external action after the collapse of the pillar structure: In search of a new balance between delimitation and consistency’ (2010) 47 CMLRev 987.

55 Cremona (n 16).

56 Art 1(1) TEU, and in particular art 1(2) TFEU: ‘This Treaty and the Treaty on European Union constitute the Treaties on which the Union is founded.’ See also Pechstein M, ‘Art. 1 (ex-Art. 1 EUV) [Gründung der Europäischen Union; Grundlagen]’ in Streinz R (ed), EUV/AEUV: Vertrag über die Europäische Union und Vertrag über die Arbeitsweise der Europäischen Union (2nd edn, CH Beck 2012) 7, 11.

57 Compare art 1 EC and art 1(1) TEU (Nice version).

58 Art 1(1) TEU.

59 Art 2 TEU; and previously art 6 TEU (Nice version). See further on the importance of values in the evolving EU legal order infra section IV.

60 Art 3(1) TEU.

61 Art 3(2) TEU.

62 Art 3(3) TEU.

63 Art 3(4) TEU.

64 Art 3(5) TEU.

65 Lenaerts K and Van Nuffel P, European Union Law (3rd edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2011) 107; also Ruffert M, ‘Art. 3 (ex-Art. 2 EUV) [Ziele der EU]’ in Calliess C and Ruffert M (eds), EUV/AEUV Kommentar (4th edn, CH Beck 2011) marginal no 6; and Drescher (n 5) 67.

66 de Búrca G, ‘Europe's raison d’être’ in Kochenov D and Amtenbrink F, The European Union's Shaping of the International Legal Order (CUP 2014) 21, 21.

67 cf ASEAN Charter, signed 20 November 2007, art 1; Constitutive Act of the African Union, signed 11 July 2000, art 3.

68 See the seminal contribution Weiler JHH, ‘The Transformation of Europe’ (1991) 100 YaleLJ 2403.

69 For an overview of some of the more prominent labels used to describe the Union and its legal order, see Walker N and Tierney S, ‘Introduction: A Constitutional Mosaic? Exploring the New Frontiers of Europe's Constitutionalism’ in Walker N, Shaw M and Tierney S (eds), Europe's Constitutional Mosaic (Hart 2011) 1, 7–8; and Walker N, ‘The Place of European Law’ in de Búrca G and Weiler JHH (eds), The Worlds of European Constitutionalism (CUP 2011) 57, 78–9.

70 See Chiti E and Teixeira PG, ‘The constitutional implications of the European responses to the financial and public debt crisis’ (2013) 50 CMLRev 683; and Tuori K, ‘The European Financial Crisis: Constitutional Aspects and Implications’ (2013) EUI Working Paper Law 2012/28.

71 The concept of the ‘constitutionalzation’ of Union itself is a matter of debate with many currents. For a useful overview see Avbelj M, ‘Questioning EU Constitutionalisms’ (2008) 9 German Law Journal 1.

72 For historical examples to the contrary, see Tanchev E, ‘The Lisbon Treaty within and without Constitutional Orthodoxy’ in Pernice I and Tanchev E (eds), Ceci n'est pas une Constitution – Constitutionalisation without a Constitution? (Nomos 2009) 22; and Besselink L, ‘The Notion and Nature of the European Constitution After the Lisbon Treaty’ in Wouters J, Verhey L and Kiiver P (eds), European Constitutionalism beyond Lisbon (Intersentia 2009) 261, 262, who ranks the constitutional law of the EU among what he terms ‘the non-revolutionary, historical types of constitutions’.

73 See on the ‘no demos’ thesis, Weiler JHH, ‘Does Europe Need a Constitution? Demos, Telos and the German Maastricht Decision’ (1995) 1 ELJ 219; for further references to the constitutionalization literature see Streinz R, ‘European Integration through constitutional law’ in Blanke H-J and Mangiameli S (eds), Governing Europe under a Constitution: The Hard Road from the European Treaties to a European Constitutional Treaty (Springer 2006) 1, 9 (fn 65).

74 See eg Müller-Graff (n 5) marginal no 78; Schütze R, European Constitutional Law (CUP 2012) 35; Streinz R, C Ohler and C Herrmann, Der Vertrag von Lissabon zur Reform der EU: Einführung mit Synopse (3rd edn, CH Beck 2010) 16; Grimm D, ‘Ursprung und Wandel der Verfassung’ in Isensee J and Kirchhof P (eds), Handbuch des Staatsrechts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (3rd edn, C.F. Müller 2003) vol 1 (Historische Grundlagen) 3, 41; and Claes M and de Visser M, ‘Reflections on comparative method in European constitutional law’ in Adams M and Bomhoff J (eds), Practice and Theory in Comparative Law (CUP 2012) 143, 149, who note that the composite of Member State and EU constitutional norms performs ‘the function which in a national legal system is fulfilled by constitutional law’.

75 Craig P, ‘Constitutions, Constitutionalism, and the European Union’ (2001) 7 ELJ 125, 126–35.

76 European Council, Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council 21 and 22 June 2007, 20 July 2007, 11177/1/07 REV 1, Annex I: IGC mandate, 15 (pt 1). Discounting this ‘proclamation’ for the debate on the constitutional approach are eg Griller S, ‘The Reform's Typology: Treaty or Constitution?’ in Pernice I and Tanchev E (eds), Ceci n'est pas une Constitution: Constitutionalisation without a Constitution? (Nomos 2008) 44, 52–5; and von Bogdandy A and Bast J, ‘The Constitutional Approach to EU Law’ in von Bogdandy A and Bast J (eds), Principles of European Constitutional Law (2nd edn, Hart/CH Beck 2011) 1, 13.

77 See here seminally Stein E, ‘Lawyers, Judges, and the Making of a Transnational Constitution’ (1981) 75 AJIL 1; and more critically Rasmussen H, European Court of Justice (GadJura 1998).

78 Case 26/62 van Gend & Loos [1963] ECR English special edition 1, para 10.

79 Sommermann (n 7) 366.

80 ibid 198–252; De Montalivet (n 7) 53–63.

81 De Montalivet (n 7) 563.

82 Sommermann (n 7) 224.

83 Faure B, ‘Les objectifs de valeur constitutionnelle: une nouvelle catégorie juridique?’ (1995) No 21 Revue française de droit constitutionnel 47.

84 Sommerman (n 7) 360–1; see on the concept Alexy R, A Theory of Constitutional Rights (OUP 2002) 47.

85 Reddy (n 7) 73; Tope TK, Constitutional Law of India (2nd edn, Eastern Book Company 1992) 353; and Singh DK, V.N. Shukla's Constitution of India, sixth edition (6th edn, Eastern Book Company 1975) 180; Sommermann (n 7) 5; Badura P, ‘Arten der Verfassungsrechtssätze’ in Isensee J and Kirchhof P (eds), Handbuch des Staatsrechts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (3rd edn, CF Müller 2003), vol VII 33, 42; De Montalivet (n 7) 454; Roussillon H, Le Conseil constitutionnel (5th edn, Dalloz 2004) 82–3.

86 Barnard C, ‘Introduction: The Constitutional Treaty, the Constitutional Debate and the Constitutional Process’ in Barnard C (ed), The Fundamentals of EU Law Revisited: Assessing the Impact of the Constitutional Debate (OUP 2007) 1, 3.

87 Ipsen (n 12) 995.

88 Case 126/86 Giménez Zaera v Institut Nacional de la Seguridad Social and Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social [1987] ECR 3697, para 10 (emphasis added).

89 Case 167/73 Commission v France [1974] ECR 359, para 18. The German version of the judgment uses even stronger language. It speaks of ‘vertragsprägende allgemeine Grundsätze’, ie ‘general principles which characterize the Treaty’.

90 Calliess (n 5) 85; and Pescatore (n 13) 327; see also Pollack M, The Engines of European Integration: Delegation, Agency, and Agenda Setting in the EU (OUP 2003) 189.

91 van Gend & Loos (n 78) para 9.

92 ibid. Hallstein, Die Europäische Gemeinschaft (5th edn, Econ Verlag 1979) 53, described the Treaties as ‘acts of creation’ (‘Schöpfungsakte’) and not just ‘a batch of rights and duties of the contracting parties’ (‘einem Bündel von Rechten und Pflichten der vertragschließenden Staaten’).

93 Case 294/83 Parti écologiste ‘Les Verts’ [1986] ECR 1339, para 23.

94 Opinion 1/91 (EEA) [1991] ECR I-6079, para 21 (emphases added).

95 ibid. See also Rosas A and Armati L, EU Constitutional Law: An Introduction (Hart 2010) 3.

96 Case 29/69 Stauder [1969] ECR 419; generally and for further case law see eg Schütze (n 74) 409–19.

97 Art 6(1) TEU (Nice version). Post-Lisbon, art 6(1) TEU refers to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is of the same legal rank as the Treaties, representing the detailed codification of the fundamental rights within EU primary law.

98 Note in this context the controlimiti doctrine of the Italian Constitutional Court, in particular, Corte costituzionale, Decision of 18 December 1973, Sentenza N. 183/1973 (Frontini); and the German Solange I decision, Bundesverfassungsgericht, Decision of 29 May 1974, BVerfGE 37, 271 (Solange I).

99 See eg Bundesverfassungsgericht, Decision of 22 October 1986, BVerfGE 73, 339 (Solange II); and Corte costituzionale, Decision of 5 June 1984, Sentenza N. 170/1984 (Granital). Further Kühling J, ‘Fundamental Rights’ in von Bogdandy A and Bast J (eds), Principles of European Constitutional Law (2nd edn, Hart/CH Beck 2011) 479.

100 Case 11/70 Internationale Handelsgesellschaft [1970] ECR 1125, para 4. This was later supplemented by international sources, in particular the ECHR, see Case 4/73 Nold v Commission [1975] ECR 491, para 13.

101 The term was introduced in Bundesverfassungsgericht, Decision of 15 January 1958, BVerfGE 7, 198, 205 (Lüth), para 27.

102 Art 2 TEU.

103 Mangiameli S, ‘Article 2 [The Homogeneity Clause]’ in Blanke HJ and Mangiameli S (eds), The Treaty on European Union (TEU): A Commentary (Springer 2013) 114 (original emphases omitted).

104 Treaty of Amsterdam art 1(8); subsequently art 6 TEU (Nice version). On the detailed genesis of this provision see Mangiameli (n 103) 110–15.

105 Art 49(1) TEU.

106 Art 7(2) TEU.

107 Art 7(3) TEU.

108 Internationale Handelsgesellschaft (n 100) para 4 (emphasis added).

109 In this context J d'Aspremont and F Dopagne, ‘Two Constitutionalisms in Europe: Pursuing an Articulation of the European and International Legal Orders’ (2008) 68 ZaöRV 939, 943–50, distinguish between ‘substantive’ constitutionalism, ie value-based, and ‘systemic’ constitutionalism, eg direct effect and primacy.

110 von Bogdandy A, ‘Founding Principles of EU Law: A Theoretical and Doctrinal Sketch’ (2009) 16 ELJ 95, 99.

111 ibid. He sees the replacement of the former ‘specific objectives’ of Articles 2 and 3 EC by current art 3 TEU as evidence for this.

112 (In the original: ‘Fluchtpunkt und Legitimationstitel allen Gemeinschaftshandelns, zugleich Ausdruck fehlender Kompetenz-Kompetenz der Gemeinschaften’) Reimer (n 5) 992. He writes with regard to the (then) looming Constitutional Treaty. His findings can, overall, be transferred to the primary law as amended by the Lisbon Treaty.

113 (In the original: ‘Schicksals- und Wertegemeinschaft’) ibid.

114 ibid 993, also 1009, referring to the failed Constitutional Treaty.

115 Case 8/57 Groupement des hauts fourneaux et aciéries belges v High Authority [1958] ECR English special edition 245, para 8.

116 ibid; see also Case 6/72 Continental Can [1973] ECR 215, para 23. Arguing for the binding nature of the objectives also Pechstein (n 5) 19 (marginal no 3); Reimer (n 5) 997; and Calliess (n 5) 90.

117 Joined Cases 6 and 7/73 Istituto Chemioterapico Italiano S.p.A. and Commercial Solvents Corporation v Commission [1974] ECR 223, para 32. See also eg Case 53/81 Levin [1982] ECR 1035, para 15; and Case 15/81 Gaston Schul Douane Expediteur BV v Inspecteur der Invoerrechten en Accijnzen [1982] ECR 1409, para 33. In this vein also A Dashwood et al., Wyatt & Dashwood's European Union Law (6th edn, Hart 2011) 24.

118 eg Case C-130/10 Parliament v Council [2012] OJ C295/2, paras 61–65 (concerning the proper legal basis for certain counterterrorism measures, in which the objectives of the AFSJ and the CFSP were invoked by the parties); Case C-202/11 Anton Las v PSA Antwerp NV [2013] OJ C164/3, paras 26–27 (concerning the free movement of workers and the objective of preserving the linguistic diversity in the EU according to art 3(3) TEU); and Joint Cases C-274/11 and C-295/11 Spain and Italy v Council [2013] OJ C164/3, para 48 (stressing that enhanced cooperation is to further the ‘objectives of the Union’ according to art 20(2) TEU); and Case C-137/12, Commission v Council (ECJ, 22 October 2013) para 56 (concerning scope of the Common Commercial Policy).

119 See eg Case C-268/94 Portugal v Council [1996] ECR I-06177, para 23; and Case C-166/07 Council v Parliament (International Fund for Ireland) [2009] ECR I-07135, para 45.

120 See eg Case C-268/94 Portugal v Council [1996] ECR I-06177, para 37.

121 Case 112/80 Dürbeck [1981] ECR 01095, para 44.

122 The clarification of competences, until then provided by rather scattered Treaty provisions and through ECJ case law, had been a major issue on the agenda ever since the Nice Treaty. To which extent this cataloguing in the TFEU was a success is, however, debateable. See Piris (n 54) 74–8; Tridimas T, ‘Competence after Lisbon: The Elusive Search for Bright Lines’ in Ashiagbor D, Countouris N and Lianos I (eds), The European Union after the Treaty of Lisbon (CUP 2012) 47; and rather sceptically Schütze R, ‘Lisbon and the Federal Order of Competences: A Prospective Analysis’ (2008) 33 ELRev 709.

123 Starting with Case 22/70 Commission v Council (ERTA) [1971] ECR 263; clarified in Opinion 1/03 (Lugano Convention) [2006] ECR I-1145; see further Cremona M, ‘External Relations and External Competence of the European Union’ in Craig P and de Búrca G, The Evolution of EU Law (2nd edn, OUP 2011) 217–68.

124 Art 3(2) TFEU; art 216(1) TFEU.

125 Art 3b(1) EC (1992 consolidated version) (emphasis added). Note also art 3b(3) EC (1992 consolidated version): ‘Any action by the Community shall not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives of this Treaty.’ These formulations remained also after the Amsterdam and Nice revisions. The ECJ endorsed this formulation in Opinion 2/94 [1996] ECR I-1759, para 23.

126 Art 5(2) TEU (emphases added).

127 This conclusion challenges the position maintained by some authors that acts beyond the objectives of the Union would have to be considered ultra vires, rather than looking at competence norms. See Müller-Graff (n 5) marginal no 179; similarly Reimer (n 5) 992–3; but cf P Craig, ‘The ECJ and ultra vires action: A conceptual analysis’ (2011) 48 CMLRev 395, who defines EU action ultra vires in terms of competences alone rather than drawing on objectives.

128 Art 3(6) TEU (emphasis added).

129 Azoulai L, ‘Introduction: The question of competence’ in Azoulai L (ed), The Question of Competence in the European Union (OUP 2014) 1, 11.

130 ibid 12.

131 For the latter, note, for instance, art 6(2) TEU on the accession of the EU to the ECHR. On the typology of norm categories in constitutional law see Badura (n 85) 46 and Sommermann (n 7) 362–73.

132 Art 352(1) TEU. Note also Declarations No 41 and 42 on art 352 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, attached to the Lisbon Treaty.

133 See eg Case 8/73 Massey-Ferguson [1973] ECR 897, para 4; Case 242/87 Commission v Council (Erasmus) [1989] ECR 1425; Joined Cases C-402/05 P and C-415/05 P Kadi and Al Barakaat [2008] ECR I-6351, para 235. See further Douglas-Scott S, Constitutional Law of the European Union (Longman 2002) 155–63; Lenaerts and Van Nuffel (n 65) 122–4.

134 Weiler (n 68) 2446; for post-Lisbon, see Rosas and Armati (n 95) 21, who similarly state that ‘the breadth of these objectives make [sic] it difficult to imagine areas where the Union clearly has no authority to go.’

135 Opinion 2/94 [1996] ECR I-1759, para 29.

136 ibid para 35. See also Declaration No 42 on Article 352 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which reiterates this idea.

137 Dashwood et al. (n 117) 110.

138 Art 352(2) TFEU. Art 352(3) states in addition that the clause cannot be used to the effect of harmonizing Member State laws or regulations ‘in cases where the Treaties exclude such harmonisation’.

139 Art 352(4) TFEU.

140 Schermers and Blokker (n 17) 766.

141 See Rosas and Armati (n 95) 12–17 on the State-like and non-State like features of the Union. On the former, they conclude that these features ‘are not normally associated with intergovernmental organisations, or, if they are, they are to be seen as exceptions or even anomalies’ (14). Similarly, Douglas-Scott (n 133) 260, who concludes that ‘even if the EEC did conform to the status of international organisation in its early days (which is unlikely) it has now moved well beyond that.’

142 Jurisdiction of the European Commission of the Danube (n 21) 64.

143 See also, commenting on the general objectives of the failed Constitutional Treaty, Azoulai L, ‘Article I-3’ in Burgorgue-Larsen L, Levade A and Picod F (eds), Traité établissant une Constitution pour l'Europe (Bruylant 2007) vol 1, 60, 62: ‘On ne saurait, reconnaissons-le, être plus généreux et moins sélectif dans la promesse de bienfaits sublunaires.’ Similarly, Piris (n 54) 73, states that the objectives of art 3 TEU, ‘when compared with the past Treaties, go in the direction of respecting human values and caring for the well-being of the people’.

144 Art 3(1) TEU.

145 Pescatore (n 13) 327.

146 See eg Joerges C, Meny Y, Weiler JHH (eds), What Kind of Constitution for What Kind of Polity? Responses to Joschka Fischer (European University Institute 2000), which also reproduces Joschka Fischer's speech at the Humboldt University in Berlin on 12 May 2000 entitled ‘From Confederacy to Federation: Thoughts on the Finality of European Integration’ (19–30); Walker N, ‘After Finalité? The Future of the European Constitutional Idea’ in Amato G, Bribosia H and de Witte B (eds), Genèse et destinée de la Constitution européenne (Bruylant 2007) 1245; also Walker (n 69) 100; and Follesdal A, ‘Towards a stable finalité with federal features? The balancing acts of the Constitutional Treaty for Europe’ (2005) 12 JEPP 572.

147 (In the original: ‘Grundnorm des Integrationsprogramms’) Ruffert (n 65) marginal no 1.

148 ibid, marginal no 2.

149 Calliess (n 5) 91; referring to Joined Cases 80 and 81/77 Société Les Commissionnaires Réunis SARL v Receveur des douanes [1978] ECR 927, para 36: ‘Any prejudice to what the Community has achieved in relation to the unity of the market moreover risks opening the way to mechanisms which would lead to disintegration contrary to the objectives of progressive approximation of the economic policies of the Member States set out in Article 2 [TEC]’.

150 Calliess (n 5) 85.

151 Rosas and Armati (n 95) 16 stress that the principle of conferral ‘is not unknown in the constitutions of certain federal states and it is therefore open to debate whether the principle of conferral amounts to a state or a non-state feature’. See further on the federalist paradigm in EU law, Schütze R, From Dual to Cooperative Federalism: The Changing Structure of European Law (OUP 2009); and Cloots E, De Baere G and Sottiaux S (eds), Federalism in the European Union (Hart 2012).

152 Walker (n 146) 1253, who points out the rather diverse positions that have been connected to finalité.

153 ibid 1254.

154 Müller-Graff P-C, ‘Verfassungsziele der EG/EU’ in Dauses M (ed), Handbuch des EU-Wirtschaftsrechts (loose-leaf commentary, 27th edn, CH Beck, October 2010) marginal no 119. However, the current edition does not include this distinction anymore, Müller-Graff (n 5). Also Dollat P, Droit européen et droit de l'Union européenne (3rd edn, Sirey 2010) 113 speaks of ‘objectifs politiques internes de l'intégration de l'Union’.

155 Art 2 EC. Note that art 3(3), third subpara TEU uses a slightly different formulation (‘economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States’).

156 Art 1(3) EC; this formulation is not reiterated in the post-Lisbon Treaties.

157 First recital of the preamble TEC; in the Lisbon version, it is referred to in the preambles of both the TEU and TFEU, as well as in the operative part in art 1(2) TEU.

158 The term ‘effective’ is used here in the sense of ‘goal attainment’, drawing on the definition elaborated by Young O, International Governance: Protecting the Environment in a Stateless Society (Cornell University Press 1994) 144–5.

159 Ruffert (n 65) marginal no 3.

160 Art 5(1) TEU.

161 Alexy (n 84) 47.

162 Art 21(2)(h) TEU. On the additional conundrums that this raises, see Larik J, ‘Entrenching Global Governance: The EU's constitutional objectives caught between a sanguine world view and a daunting reality’ in Van Vooren B, Blockmans S and Wouters J (eds), The EU's Role in Global Governance: The Legal Dimension (OUP 2013) 7.

163 In this respect, de Búrca (n 66) 36.

164 ‘From war to peace: A European tale’, Nobel Peace Prize Lecture on behalf of the European Union by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, Oslo, 10 December 2012.

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International & Comparative Law Quarterly
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  • EISSN: 1471-6895
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