European Foreign Policy
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European Foreign Policy

Legal and Political Perspectives

Edited by Panos Koutrakos

Written by leading experts, this book focuses on central issues of the foreign policy of the European Union. The issues explored include: • how the EU’s judges understand its relationship with the international order; • the coherence of the Union’s external action; • the EU’s approach to its neighbours; • the Common Security and Defence Policy; and, • the EU’s participation in international organisations.
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Chapter 4: Volkerrechtsfreundlichkeit as comity and the disquiet of neoformalism: a response to Jan Klabbers

Achilles Skordas


4. Völkerrechtsfreundlichkeit as comity and the disquiet of neoformalism: a response to Jan Klabbers Achilles Skordas SUPRANATIONAL LAW AND INTERNATIONAL LAW Jan Klabbers makes an important argument on the relationship between supranational law and international law and criticizes sharply the judicial policy of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). He makes his points in a skilful line of reasoning and protests in strong terms about the alleged lack of respect of the EU for international law. Klabbers claims that the Union casts international law ‘in the role of the unfit parent, perhaps even an abusive parent’, just as ‘right-wing international lawyers in the US tend to think international law is up to no good’. He insinuates a lack of vision of the EU judiciary (‘the EU courts still keep the WTO at bay, for the good reason that they are instructed to do so by their political masters’) and makes some rather astonishing comparisons on the age and maturity of the EU (with the League of Nations, some African and Asian states, and the German Democratic Republic, where a reference to ASEAN or to the process of Latin American integration would be more apposite). Klabbers does not argue that the EU is on an outright collision course with international legal values and principles, but rather that its practice is not sufficiently völkerrechtsfreundlich. The main thread of his argument is that, in its concern to guard its autonomy, the EU seems keen on manipulating, distorting and unilaterally re-interpreting international...

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