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The European Community and International Law

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Chapter Summary

The chapter analyses the law relating to European Community's external powers, or competence, to enter into international commitments. The Community is based on the principle of attributed powers and any external Community activity needs a legal basis or source. The possibility that an international court or tribunal could hold the Community responsible for breaches of international law is not only theoretical. The prospect of international responsibility for the Community is closely related to, and mainly depended on, the underlying international obligation and the form of its acceptance by the Community. Through an increasing amount of Community legislation in the field, the range of matters for which Member States have transferred the law-making competence exclusively to the Community has increased dramatically over the past 15 years. Agreements that are not concluded by the Community give rise to few international obligations, whereas the international law implications of mixed agreements are more far-reaching.

Keywords: European Community; international law; Member States



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