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International Law Developed Through the European Union  

Kathie Barrett

The European Union (EU) was created through treaties and thus is a product of international law. In the Van Gend en Loos decision, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) stated that the EU was a “new order of international law” and reiterated this in subsequent decisions. This perspective is consistent with the way that the EU influences international law to drive integration as well as its foreign policy goals to become a global leader in the rule of law, protection of human rights, and environmental stability while at the same time decreasing the sovereignty of Member States without their agreement. The CJEU is adjudicating a supranational constitution and empowering national courts to ensure the consistency of EU law. The EU has demonstrated that a unique international system can be driven through cooperation and confidence in international law. While creating possibilities for both international and the EU, it also creates challenges for the national court as well as EU and international law development.