Judicial Control of the European Communities

By Gerhard Bebr | Go to book overview

Preface

THE Treaties establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)--concluded by France, the West German Federal Republic, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg--introduced a new form of an organisation more suitable for pursuing their vast and ambitious economic and political objectives. Unlike traditional international organisations which operate through the mutual co-operation of States only, the Communities have executive and quasi-legislative powers exercised more or less independently of the Member States, and in specific instances even directly applicable to and enforceable on individuals. This exercise, which is perhaps the most significant feature of the Communities, is under an exclusive judicial control of a Community Court which may be invoked not only by a Member State or a Community organ but in a limited sense by an individual as well. It is particularly this institutional feature which stresses the legal innovation of the Communities which in their concept radically broke with traditional international organisations.

The Community Treaties utilise to a large extent the legal concepts and principles of national legal systems. These concepts and principles are naturally modified by and subject to the peculiar nature of relations existing within the Communities. In their unique institutional structure the judicial control of the European Communities encounters new problems for whose solution new techniques are to be developed. Especially so as the judicial control operates in a climate lacking a strong political solidarity. Under these conditions the Court's control may assume a new form whose dynamism is likely to influence the development of the Communities.

The unique and also challenging nature of the Community powers and the unprecedented judicial control over their exercise by the Community organs were instrumental in undertaking the present study. It is primarily based on the case law of the Court which already indicates, even though with some hesitation, a slow and gradual crystallisation of principles and doctrines of the judicial control of the European Communities.

-xi-

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