Edited by Gareth Davies and Matej Avbelj
Chapter 20: The EU’s relationship to international law: lessons from Brexit
This chapter argues that the process of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU has revealed important truths about the continuing dependence of EU law on international law. First, the deal agreed by the UK and the EU in February 2016 as part of David Cameron’s attempt to ‘reform’ the relationship between the UK and the EU was an international agreement under the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties. Second, the process of withdrawal and especially the challenges of a withdrawal agreement and a separate trade agreement also show the permanent dependence of EU law on public international law. EU law is a creation of international law and international law is a legal order, meaning it provides standards of conduct for international actors and individuals within a systematic intellectual framework, even when the EU legal order falls away.
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