Chapter 16: The Meaning of Harmonisation in the Context of European Union Law – a Process in Need of Definition
Eva J. Lohse* Harmonisation of laws is a multifaceted development. We are yet to comprehend the many processes and implications involved in harmonising law. Any account of harmonising processes depends on what is understood by ‘harmonisation’ or by ‘approximation’, a term which is often used synonymously to refer to the abolition of different legal rules within a given entity1 (section A). This chapter will not tackle the issues why or how to harmonise. It will focus on defining the process of harmonisation by elaborating cornerstones of a definition of harmonisation in the context of European former Community law.2 The term ‘harmonisation’ is, however, restricted neither to the context of the European Union (EU),3 nor to legal contexts, but is commonly used in order * University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. This synonymous use will be elaborated further in section A below. See also Eiden, C (1984), Die Rechtsangleichung gemäß Art. 100 des EWG-Vertrages (Duncker & Humblot) at 15; Hallstein, W (1964), ‘Angleichung des Privat- und Prozessrechts in der Europäischen Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft’, 28 RabelsZ 211 at 217 and Ihns, A (2005), Entwicklung und Grundlagen der europäischen Rechtsangleichung (Heymans) at 15. 2 This chapter refers mainly to the situation under the former ‘First Pillar’, i.e. the core of the European Union (EU). It is still a moot point whether there is harmonisation in the areas covered by the Treaty on the European Union (EU), particularly by framework decisions, although some of the recent case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) hints...
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