Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Christian Twigg-Flesner
Chapter 2: The regulatory character of European private law
Private law at the European Union (EU) level has been elaborated in various areas, including the law of the regulated network industries, commercial practices and contract law, competition law, state aid and public procurement, as well as health, food safety and regulation of services. Despite the important evolutions taking place in these fields, they are generally either ignored or insufficiently considered in European private law scholarship, which has thus far tended to regard EU private law as simply a new supranational variant of 'traditional' private law and thus as the expression of a common European tradition in private law that developed at the national level. The entire exercise of drafting a European Civil Code pays tribute to such thinking. Focusing on traditional areas of private law can lead to a tendency to overlook the regulatory function of European private law. It is here that further research is needed – also from a cross-sectoral perspective – to develop an understanding of how private law is evolving, how it is interlinked with public regulation, whether this new law can be systematised and what its links are with more traditional private law either at the EU or at the national level.
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