Academic journal article Romanian Journal of European Affairs

EU External Relations Law; Text, Cases and Materials

Academic journal article Romanian Journal of European Affairs

EU External Relations Law; Text, Cases and Materials

Article excerpt

EU External Relations Law; Text, Cases and Materials Bart Van Vooren and Ramses A. Wessel, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2014, 579 pages, ISBN: 978-1-107-68430-0

Abstract: This latest textbook contributing to the field of EU external relations law is unique in that it is the first such book in the post-Treaty of Lisbon environment to take a wide-angled look on as many aspects of the growing area as it continues to develop within the legal parameters as set by the Treaties, and it is suitably placed to become the core text for teaching this expanding EU policy field. In their book, EU External Relations Law: Text; Cases and Materials, Van Vooren and Wessel seek to fill the gap in up-to-date literature from a legal standpoint in the field of external relations of the EU, with a book that is suitable for delivery as a core textbook for students of all levels. Their analysis covering fifteen long chapters offers the reader a comprehensive insight into the world of EU external relations law, and allows for a thoroughly better understanding of all the encapsulated issues that are at play.

Keywords: European Union, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Law, External Relations

The external relations of the EU is a field of study where much academic literature exists, but is dominated by non-lawyers, namely those with expertise in political science, international relations, or indeed practicing or retired practitioners. This approach to the discipline from a legal perspective is both needed and refreshing, in light of the continuously advancing area of EU policy. So what does this latest addition to the field of legal research in the external affairs cover that other publications have not already covered? Notwithstanding some notable academics in this dynamic field, this book looks to encapsulate its status of primacy above other legal textbooks in EU external relations, in a similar vein of Paul Craig and Gráinne de Búrca's EU Law: Text, Case and Materials by Oxford University Press. In this offering however, Bart Van Vooren, an excellent talent in the area is joined by Ramses A. Wessel, an academic juggernaut in the legal aspects of all things EU external relations law. Working together in EU External Relations Law: Text, Cases and Materials, they deliver new perspectives, and no doubt were compelled into writing it due to the large gap in the market for such an offering with a lecture theatre focus.' Split over fifteen chapters covering all of the central areas of EU external relations law, the book explores several of the different aspects, with the EU as an international actor central to the purpose of the writing.

Although not directly set up as a book of two halves, an obvious split down the middle is observed from the outset. Chapters 1 through 8 cover the administrative elements of the policy field, while Chapters 9 through 1 5 deal with some of the numerous policies that come under the wing of external action. To begin with, Chapter 1 begins by discussing the EU as an actor within the wider globe, discussing the legal basis within the treaties for such external action, and discussing the key players within the institutions on their specific role. Moving on, the set of tools that are at the EU's disposal is examined next, weighing up the hard and soft methods of law, to be swiftly followed in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 by the level of competences that the EU possesses in matters of external relations. Express and implied competences are examined, as are shared competences between the EU and member states and exclusive competences solely for the EU, whilst covering the necessary legal underpinnings for these actions. The tension that exists between the different competency levels is a theme that prevails right throughout the publication. Chapter 6 extends into the duty of cooperation that exists between member states when exercising powers that are within their own grasp, while Chapter 7 attempts to capture the often-convoluted relationship between international and EU law and how they interact within one another. …

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