The European Union's Legal Integration: A Case Study of Living Up to the Denver Summit of Eight

By Sohar, Christine Juliet | Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Fall 1999 | Go to article overview

The European Union's Legal Integration: A Case Study of Living Up to the Denver Summit of Eight


Sohar, Christine Juliet, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy


I. INTRODUCTION

In Denver, Colorado the Twenty-Third Annual Summit of the Eight convened and hosted issues of global importance in 1997.(1) The seven leading industrial democracies plus Russia discussed international, regional, and domestic steps to promote economic, political, and global prosperity and integration and environmental reforms to foster a healthy global ecosystem.(2) The national delegates determined:

   [t]he process of globalization [is] a major factor underlying the growth of
   world prosperity.... The increasing openness and interdependence of our
   economies means that problems in one country can spill over more easily to
   affect the rest. We must cooperate to promote global growth and
   prosperity....(3) This is a pivotal year for efforts to promote sustainable
   development and protect the environment. We are determined to address the
   environmental challenges that will affect the quality of life of future
   generations....(4) We must all take advantage of the possibilities for
   growth to address ... economic insecurity [and] sound economic policies and
   structural reforms necessary to allow markets to function properly....(5)

The above statement begs the question, what has the world done to implement the ideas of the 1997 Denver Summit of the Eight? Has any part of the world demonstrated that the idealistic language of the eigheen-page final communique is much more than a mere wish-list for the world? Perhaps one of the best examples of effectuating the ideals of the final communique of the Denver Summit of Eight is the legal development within the European Union. The European Union continues to modify its laws to ensure international, regional, and domestic integration and prosperity. In particular, within the civil legal system, the European Union has found a way to use laws to harmonize multinational legislation in order to reach the ideal ends. The European Union's legal reformation in the area of competition law, environmental regulations, and monetary union poignantly demonstrate the successful and persistent steps the European Union has taken toward the Denver Summit's objective of promoting global harmonization. Through these three areas of legal reform, the European Union has reached both a broader and deeper legal harmony within the European Union, the region, and the entire world. The European Union's broad interpretation of EU competition and environmental laws exemplify the flexibility of existing laws, which uniformly apply to the more diverse sovereign Member States. This broad interpretation of EU laws is especially important as additional Central and Eastern European nations transform their laws in harmony with EU laws in hopes of joining the Union. In comparison, however, the deepening of the European Union's legal integration demonstrates a different means to accomplish the Denver Summit's ends. The EU deepens this legal integration through such plans as the recent monetary union of eligible states, where the new laws are bringing the current EU members even closer.

It is in light of these two legal movements in the EU, the broadening and deepening of integrated laws, that the European Union epitomizes the successful reality of the Denver Summit of Eight ideals within its own region of the world.

II. BROADENING LEGAL INTEGRATION IN THE EU

The Diego Cali & Figli Srl v. Servici Econogici Porto di Genova SpA decision, delivered in March, 1997, demonstrates the expansive new legal concept for the European Union (EU) was well underway even before the meeting of the Denver Summit.(6) In this decision, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) broadened the flexibility of Union laws by declaring that competition rules do not apply to the private companies monitoring and executing the anti-pollution surveillance schemes hired by public authorities.(7) In general, the court held that Servici Econogici Porto di Genova's (SEPG's) environmental protections, which are public interest activities, do not present an economic impact warranting application of competition laws.

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