The Sphere of Intervention: EU Law Supranationalism and the Concept of International Treaty

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Table of Contents: I. I. Introduction. – II. The law of integration. – II.1. The summa divisio of the modern law and the autonomous “sphere of intervention”. – II.2. The concept of law-making treaty and the search for a European constitution. – II.3. Jürgen Habermas and the revision of Kant’s cosmopolitan right. – III. The law of intervention. – III.1. Two faces. – III.2. The concept of Intervention treaty. – III.3. Post-war Europe. – IV. Joseph Weiler and the political messianism in EU Law. – V. Conclusion.

Abstract: In this Article, the EU Treaties which establish a new and autonomous legal order are analysed through the lens of Pierre Pescatore’s qualification of their operating sphere as “sphere of intervention”. Combining Jürgen Habermas' revision of Kant's concept of cosmopolitan law and Joseph Weiler's thesis on the messianic impact of the European integration process, a concept of international treaty is presented that is suitable for a proper analysis of the transformative character of the EU Treaties and the Common Market as such a "sphere of intervention”. Highlighting implications of the theory of international treaty, legal philosophy and messianism, the concept of the European autonomous legal order, endowed with direct effect and supremacy, shall be proven to be the historical answer to the aporias of classical international law and to the totalitarian abuse of the law in the fascist regimes in Europe in the first half of the 20th century – not only on a symbolical level but also on the level of the concrete legal structure of the European integration process. The general aim of this Article is therefore to contribute to the debate about the nature of the EU Treaties as constituting an autonomous legal order from an international law perspective by identifying a type of international treaty suitable to explain the special character of a legal order that is identical neither with international nor with domestic law, but rather constituting a realm in-between the former and showing an independent legal standing in itself.

Keywords: European integration – international law – constitutionalisation – intervention –cosmopolitan right – messianism.

European Papers, Vol. 8, 2023, No 3, pp. 1333-1359
ISSN 2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/721

* University Assistant, University of Vienna,


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