European Union: Power and Policy-Making

By Jeremy J. Richardson | Go to book overview
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legislation, this power is unlikely fully to overcome the difficulty with implementation, which has something of a genetic character in the Community.

Overall, the Court of Justice has made contributions in two main areas of European integration. First, it has played a leading role in the development of the Community's law. For all its faults, this law is the main feature which distinguishes the Community from conventional international organisations. Perhaps the most significant aspect of this contribution is the fact that it dramatically increases the likelihood that laws passed by the Community will be implemented at national level. The development of the Community's legal system, and particularly the doctrines of direct effect and supremacy also increased the capacity of the Court to influence substantive policy-making in Europe. In general, however, it would be misleading to attribute the development of substantive policies wholly to the Court. In fact, it has been most effective when its rulings have altered the balance of power in the policy-making process so as to facilitate the passage of legislation which might otherwise have failed to become law. The interaction of the Court with other institutions (Wincott 1995a) and interests in the development of Community law and in the policy process is a crucial characteristic of European integration.


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Pescatore, P. (1983) 'The Doctrine of “Direct Effect”: An Infant Disease of Community Law' European Law Review 8.


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