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The Legal Status and Influence of Decisions of International Organizations and other Bodies in the European Union. College of Europe Research Paper in Law 01/2014

Wessel, Ramses A. and Blockmans, Steven. (2014) The Legal Status and Influence of Decisions of International Organizations and other Bodies in the European Union. College of Europe Research Paper in Law 01/2014. UNSPECIFIED.

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    Introduction. The European Union’s external action is not only defined by its influence on international developments, but also by its ability and the need to respond to those developments. While traditionally many have stressed the EU’s ‘autonomy’, over the years its ‘dependence’ on global developments has become more clear.2 International law has continued to play a key role in, not only in the EU’s external relations, but also in the Union’s own legal order.3 The purpose of this paper is not to assess the role or performance of the EU in international institutions.4 Rather it purports to reverse the picture and focus on a somewhat under-researched topic: the legal status of decisions of international organizations in the EU’s legal order.5 While parts of the status of these decisions relate to the status of international agreements and international customary law, it can be argued that decisions of international organizations and other international bodies form a distinct category. In fact, it has been observed that “this phenomenon has added a new layer of complexity to the already complex law of external relations of the European Union”.6 Emerging questions relate to the possible difference between decisions of international organizations of which the EU is a member (such as the FAO) and decisions of organizations where it is not (irrespective of existing competences in that area – such as in the ILO). Questions also relate to the hierarchical status of these decisions in the EU’s legal order and to the possibility of them being invoked in direct or indirect actions before the Court of Justice. This contribution takes a broad perspective on decisions of international organizations by including decisions taken in other international institutions which do not necessarily comply with the standard definition of international organizations,7 be it bodies set-up by multilateral conventions or informal (transnational / regulatory) bodies. Some of these bodies are relatively close to the EU (such as the Councils established by Association Agreements – see further Section 5 below); others operate at a certain distance. Limiting the analysis to formal international organizations will not do justice to the manifold relationships between the European Union and various international bodies and to the effects of the norms produced by these bodies. The term ‘international decisions’ is therefore used to refer to any normative output of international institutional arrangements.

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    Item Type: Other
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > law & legal affairs-general (includes international law)
    EU policies and themes > External relations > common foreign & security policy 1993--European Global Strategy
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > College of Europe (Brugge) > Research Papers in Law
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2015 15:30
    Number of Pages: 26
    Last Modified: 07 Apr 2015 15:46

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