Private Parties in European Community Law: Challenging Community Measures

By Albertina Albors-Llorens | Go to book overview

1
Private Parties and Judicial Review of Community Action

1.1 JUDICIAL REVIEW IN THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES

After several failed attempts by the European States to achieve some form of unity following the end of the Second World War, the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1951 laid the foundation stone of a European Community. This Treaty established the European Coal and Steel Community,1 which sought a form of sectorial integration by the pooling of French and German coal and steel resources and those of any other countries wishing to participate. The idea was endorsed with enthusiasm by other European States, and a few years later, further developments took place with the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Atomic Energy Community,2 again seeking sectorial integration, and the European Economic Community,3 which had the more far-reaching aim of general economic integration.

These three Treaties created a structure hitherto unknown and called by many 'supranational': the European Communities. They brought with them a new legal order which, although linked with International Law, had revolutionary features.

In the first place, the European Communities Treaties provided for a set of independent institutions vested with powers irreversibly transferred to them by the Member States, which in their turn were required to accept a limitation on their sovereignty in certain fields.4

In the second place, the subjects of this new legal order are not only the Member States but also their nationals. As the Court emphasized in Van Gend en Loos v. Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen, 'this view is confirmed by the preamble of the Treaty, which refers not only to Governments but to peoples'.5

____________________
1
The Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community will hereafter be referred to as the ECSC Treaty.
2
The Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community will hereafter be referred to as the Euratom Treaty.
3
The Maastricht Treaty has replaced the term 'European Economic Community' for the European Community (Title II, Art. G of the Treaty). The Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (the EEC Treaty) will hereafter be referred to as the EC Treaty.
4
See Case 26/62 Van Gend en Loos v. Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen [1963] ECR 1 at 12. Also Case 6/64 Costa v. Enel [1964] ECR 585 at 593, [1964] ECR 585 at 593.
5
Case 26/62, n. 4 above, 12.

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