Epilogue. High Hopes: Autonomy and the Identity of the EU

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. The identity of the EU and European values. – III. A constitutional moment: becoming a member of the EU. – IV. The principle of autonomy and the wider world. – V. Concluding remarks.

Abstract: This epilogue rejects the idea that the principle of autonomy is an end in itself or a tool for judicial self-empowerment. On the contrary, we support the contention that that principle serves first and foremost as a means of promoting and protecting the values on which the EU is founded. In so doing, that principle also contributes to defining the identity of the EU as a common legal order. Compliance with those values does not mean that the Member States must adopt a specific constitutional model. Instead, those values limit themselves to providing a framework of reference within which the Member States may make their own constitutional choices. Finally, it is submitted that in times when authoritarian tendencies are on the rise, the principle of autonomy allows the EU to operate as a beacon of freedom, democracy and justice for the wider world.

Keywords: identity – common legal order – values – constitutional alignment – framework of reference – international law.

European Papers, Vol. 8, 2023, No 3, pp. 1495-1511
ISSN 2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/726

* President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and Professor of European Union Law, University of Leuven, Secretariat_President-Cour@curia.europa.eu.
** Legal Secretary, Court of Justice of the European Union, jagf@curia.europa.eu.


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