Chapter 26: The many (general) principles of EU private law
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This chapter 'zooms in' and directs its analytical gaze at the substantive area of EU private law. Its purpose is twofold. First, it aims to unpack, and examine in some detail, the different instances in which a principles-based discourse has emerged in this area of EU law and, in doing so, to gain deeper insight into some of the distinctive features of the private law debate on general principles. A prevailing theme of this chapter is the conceptual richness, but also the (often confounding) complexity of the setting in which the EU's many private law principles co-exist. The second aim of this chapter is to consider the role that general principles of private law might play in articulating and protecting private law interests and values more emphatically within the EU legal order. Such a perspective seems particularly salient if one bears in mind the EU's increasing intrusiveness (or, less critically, its involvement) in matters of a private law nature. Just as the general principles of EU law have proved crucial tools for the evolution of the constitutional and administrative framework of the EU legal order, we might also imagine that the private law principles of the EU could play an important role in the development of the EU's private law sphere. In this regard, we are interested in examining the extent to which the EU's (general) principles of private law might prove valuable vehicles for the integration of private law interests within the EU legal order, acting as a counterpoint to the marketizing and regulatory impulses of EU law to which private law relationships may often be exposed. We will see that the complexity suggested above may have important implications for the potential role that private law principles may play.

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