European Institutions: Co-Operation, Integration, Unification

European Institutions: Co-Operation, Integration, Unification

European Institutions: Co-Operation, Integration, Unification

European Institutions: Co-Operation, Integration, Unification

Excerpt

The movement for European co-operation, integration and unity has taken on many forms in the last ten years and led to the creation of many new institutions. Some of these are organs of intergovernmental co-operation on the traditional pattern, others include parliamentary assemblies of a novel character and others again possess supranational powers, by reason of the fact that certain governments have quite deliberately transferred to them some portion of their sovereignty.

It is not easy to follow these developments and keep informed about the creation and activities of all these new institutions. The European Yearbook was founded five years ago for this purpose and constitutes a mine of information. Yet it seemed to me that it would be useful to many people to find in one volume a description of the structure and functions of the more important European organisations, with some information about their principal activities. That is what I have tried to furnish in this book. I have attempted to put together in a clear and (I hope) readable form a mass of information, the greater part of which is available elsewhere but not readily accessible except to specialists.

This work constitutes an essay in that branch of international law which is coming to be known as "the law of international institutions." This corresponds, on the international plane, to the subject of constitutional law, which studies the structure and functions of the organs of government in any one country; by analogy, the law of international institutions studies the structure and functions of the organs of international administration. Nor does the comparison end there. Just as an important part of constitutional law derives from constitutional practices or conventions, so, on the international plane, it is essential to study the practices followed and the conventions which are being established in the various international institutions, in addition to the legal texts by which they were created. This, therefore, is another of the guiding principles of my text.

One problem which arose was to determine which organisations should be included. In the majority of cases, it was, of course, easy . . .

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