Edited by Martin Trybus and Luca Rubini
Preface: The European Union and the Rule of Law
Gisela Stuart Wittgenstein thought that the ‘aim of philosophy is to show the ﬂy the way out of the ﬂy-bottle’. The Lisbon Treaty and its precursor, the Constitutional Treaty, was to make the European Union more effective, accountable and transparent, as well as bringing it closer to the people. After years teaching EU law, attending Council of Ministers’ meetings and having been one of the 13 people who drafted the Constitutional Treaty – I, just like Wittgenstein’s ﬂy – am still in need of help. Trying to understand the entirety and complexity of the workings, rules and institutions of what we call Europe makes getting out of the ﬂy-bottle look like child’s play. What’s gone wrong? For a start don’t call it Europe. It is the European Union, or the Union for short. Europe is a geographic entity which stretches from Ireland in the west to the Urals in the east. It is a historic entity which certainly includes the capital city of the Eastern Roman Empire, known today as Istanbul. The Union on the other hand is a post-World War II construct of currently 27 nation states. With the Lisbon Treaty the Union is said to have given up its ambition for wider and deeper integration and accepted that it is made up of sovereign Member States; it has no intentions of moving towards a federal structure. Lisbon has given greater powers to the European Parliament, transferred whole swathes of areas from unanimity to qualiﬁed majority, done away with the...