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Anna Södersten

This chapter revisits the Euratom’s historical background. It addresses the legal, political and economic context in which the Euratom was shaped. The motivation for the Euratom Treaty was to engender economic prosperity and to make Europe energy-independent. Some commentators also believed that the Euratom would be an important instrument for integration. However, when economic and political realities changed, the Euratom’s very rationale disappeared. The aim is to provide a deeper understanding of the Euratom-EU relationship today and to set the stage for the chapters that follow.

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Anna Södersten

Chapter 2 explores and sheds light on the structural relationship between the EU and Euratom. In what sense can we say that the Euratom is a part of the EU? Are they formally separate organisations or parts of the same organisation? The purpose is to map out the institutional differences between the EU and the Euratom and to explore the links between them. The chapter also considers the significance of the Euratom’s separate legal personality and the ‘shall not derogate’ clause, which regulates the relationship between the Euratom Treaty and the EU Treaties. The chapter shows that the Euratom can be seen as a separate entity, yet closely linked to the EU.

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Anna Södersten

Chapter 3 conceptualises the EU and the Euratom as legal regimes. The question is whether they belong to the same legal regime or whether they are better conceptualised as separate legal regimes. The Euratom and the EU belong to the same legal regime in the sense that they share institutions and in that they both have supranational characteristics. However, the Euratom Treaty is not just another policy area; it is a separate treaty with separate objectives. The chapter can help us to understand how to make the choice of legal basis, and in particular, how this choice is different from the choice between different policy areas under the TFEU. The chapter also examines the ethos of the Euratom and the question of whether ‘constitutionalisation’ is discernible in a Euratom context. It also explores the possibility of ‘partial membership’.

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Anna Södersten

Chapter 4 explains briefly how the Euratom Treaty is constructed. It also gives some context of EU energy policy more generally and examines the energy provision, which was inserted by the Lisbon Treaty.

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Anna Södersten

Chapter 5 focuses on the Euratom’s main task – nuclear industrial development. It asks what is the relevance of the Euratom’s central objective today. It shows that policy areas that could be regarded as ‘dirigiste’ are only applied in a limited fashion. Today, many of the provisions on nuclear industrial development are of only minor significance. The Euratom does not offer any added value as a separate Treaty, but is merely supplemental to the EU.

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Anna Södersten

Chapter 6 deals with functions that are ‘market oriented’. It examines the provisions on the nuclear common market. Focus is on gaps and overlaps between the EU and the Euratom. It also examines whether the provisions in the TFEU on competition law and State aid apply to the nuclear sector. The Euratom contains no provisions in these two areas. Can the provisions in the TFEU apply to the nuclear industry? How is this compatible with the Euratom Treaty’s central objective to promote the nuclear industry?

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Anna Södersten

Chapter 7 considers the Euratom competence in ‘radiation protection’, which is about the protection of workers and the general public. The focus of this chapter is on the relationship between radiation protection and other policy areas within the competence of the EU, for example environmental protection, work safety and public health. These are policy areas where the original EEC Treaty did not have competence. But with each treaty revision, the EU’s legislative competence has expanded. This expansion makes the Euratom Treaty increasingly redundant; as the chapter demonstrates, many activities dealt with by the Euratom in this area could also be dealt with under the competence of the EU Treaties.

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Anna Södersten

Chapter 8 discusses nuclear safety, which is the Euratom’s most significant activity area today. The chapter is less concerned with gaps and overlaps than with the Euratom’s added value. It argues that the Euratom Treaty has found a new raison d’être – although no changes have been made to the text of the Treaty. This evolution started, somewhat paradoxically, with the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Following the accident, several instruments were adopted that take the Euratom Treaty as a legal basis. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the 2004 Eastern enlargement of the EU were other important junctures. But it was eventually the Court of Justice of the European Union that opened up for legislation on nuclear safety. Prior to the Nuclear Safety case, it was generally believed that no legal basis existed. The Euratom has now gained new momentum, as nuclear safety became one of the Euratom’s most important activity areas.

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Anna Södersten

Chapter 9 outlines the functional division between the Euratom and the EU in the field of nuclear non-proliferation. It examines a variety of different areas: nuclear safeguards, export controls, and physical protection of nuclear material. The chapter shows that the different activities are dealt with under either the Euratom Treaty or the EU Treaties (and either under CFSP provisions or non-CFSP provisions). We cannot observe any obvious legal difficulties arising from the fact that nuclear non-proliferation is dealt with under separate treaties. The Euratom Safeguards is one of the few areas where there are not corresponding provisions under the EU Treaties. If the Euratom were to be abolished, an alternative would have to be found.

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Anna Södersten

The concluding part of the book summarises the main findings and provides some reflections on the implications of these findings. It provides some reflections on the relationship between the EU and the Euratom. It stresses that the Euratom has been at a ‘crossroads’ almost since its adoption in 1957, but that it is probably fair to say that the Euratom will continue to exist for many years.