Law is often still treated as if it were a separate field, clearly distinct from the economic or political spheres . As the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has never been given a lot of media coverage, most of the time, its role in the integration process is either disregarded or ignored. Although the first judges and advocates general of the institution had set its original rules by March 1953, interests in the Court's political contribution began to arise in the early 1990s, i.e. some forty years later. What role has it played in the integration process? Of all Community institutions, the Court has gone furthest in limiting national autonomy, by asserting the principles of superiority of Community law and of the obligation of Member States to implement building acts consistent with Community directives
Keohane and Hoffmann, 1991 In parallel, European integration is described by Haas as the process whereby political actors in several, distinct national settings are persuaded to shift their loyalties, expectations and political activities towards a new centre, whose institutions process or demand jurisdiction over the pre-existing national states. In order to complete the syllogism, one could say that limiting national autonomy in Keohane and Hoffmann's terms i.e. in late intergovernmentalist theory equals shifting their loyalties and demand jurisdiction over the pre-existing national states in Haas' terms, i.e. in the neofunctionalist theory. Now that we have our two premises and our middle term, the conclusion can be deduced: the ECJ is the institution which has done the most towards the European integration process.
[...] the ECSC Treaty of Paris (18th April 1951) and the Treaty of Rome (25th March 1957). “Under article 31 of the Treaty [of Paris], the Court was given the general task of ensuring ‘that in the interpretation and application of this Treaty, and for rules laid down for the implementation thereof, the law is observed'. In order to enable it to perform that function, subsequent provisions gave it particular powers.” This first text clearly confers two functions on the ECJ and the means to carry out its job: to ensure that the ECSC law is respected, abided by; thus giving it the responsibility to transform the High Authority's wishful decisions into reality to interpret the Treaty whenever practice requires it. [...]
[...] The acts of the ECJ are diluted among the other institutions' ones. The European judges' activities are reoriented to the control of the community acts validity. Anyway, according to John Stuart Mill's concept of diminishing marginal utility, there is less to do for the ECJ once that the bases are laid. Still a few ‘spectacular', radical decisions were taken but the other actors are not as surprised as before since these decisions are directly in line with the pre existing case law. [...]
[...] The judgment of the 20th of February 1979: “confirmed that any product legally manufactured and marketed in one of the member states can be sold in any other member state. Therefore, in the Single European Market, the free movement of goods prevails over the national norms that regulate the access to the national market, provided that the latter is not harmonised at the EC level or that no exceptions are to be applied. The exceptions are restricted in number and must meet some criteria; they are related to the efficiency of the control over tax evasion, public safety and health, equal conditions for trade exchanges and consumer protection. [...]
[...] They claim that the ECJ has been ‘courting the national courts' so as to make them increase their of article which is the one related to the preliminary rulings procedure. This is also a key condition for gaining some effective power and thus playing an important role in the European integration process. Indeed, “article 177 allows national courts, seized of a dispute which raises questions concerning Community law, to ask the ECJ which interpretation should be given to relevant EC provisions or to question the validity of acts of the institutions”. [...]
[...] To ensure the rule of law in the Community, “mechanisms of control were laid down”. These mechanisms were defined by the precursor of the ECJ and from that moment on, the institution has been in charge of the respect of what all the member states have at heart. As far as peace is concerned, economic prosperity appeared to be a pre- requisite to the founding fathers of the European integration. In parallel, Hayek claims that law - more precisely the rule of law - is necessary to markets: is important not to confuse opposition against . [...]
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