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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: August 2009

1 - Introduction


What is law in European Union integration?

This book discusses relationships between law and integration. It focuses on legal integration in the European Union. By integration I mean:

the process whereby political actors in several distinct national settings are persuaded to shift their loyalties, expectations and political activities toward a new centre, whose institutions possess or demand jurisdiction over the pre-existing national states.

(Haas, 1958: 16)

This definition recognises the interplay between various dimensions of integration. The shifting of loyalties, expectations and political activities towards a new EU centre also reveals a social aspect to EU integration. Political dynamics are analysed through reference to the building of new EU institutions (Wiener and Diez, 2004: 1). In discussing law and integration relationships this book focuses on the question: what is law in European Union (EU) integration? The book's emphasis is thus on analytical rather than normative issues. It departs from a current emphasis on normative concerns in EU integration studies, framed by lawyers as issues of control, accountability, transparency and legitimacy in the exercise of power in the EU (Armstrong and Shaw, 1998: 148; Wincott, 1995). While the empirical data discussed in this book shed light on these normative concerns, the book's main goal is to advance an understanding of the nature of law in EU integration processes. The book questions conceptualisations of law as formal, instrumental and relatively autonomous from its social contexts.

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