Favoriser et défier le droit européen: La lutte de deux courants de pensées concurrents de juristes et d'hommes politiques en France (1975-1989)

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  • Alexandre Patrick C Bernier
Traditional accounts of the French reception between 1958 and 1989 give the idea that the ECJ bypassed national governments and high courts, surfing on lower courts, European Law Associations and academics to promote European law. No matter how tempting they may be, these accounts fail to highlight the complex context in which this process evolved. From 1958 to roughly 1975, the reception of European law in France had indeed to deal with major structural handicaps stemming from the Eurosceptic new Gaullist Fifth Republic.
These handicaps were becoming all the more acute when the European court of justice (ECJ) in the famous cases of Van Gend en Loos in 1963 and Costa v. E.N.E.L. in 1964 introduced a constitutional practice in European law based on the core doctrinal pillars of direct effect and primacy as well as an expectancy that national courts contribute to the further building of the European legal order by means of sending preliminary references to the ECJ. How could the French legal system accommodate this bold step by the ECJ in the French political atmosphere of the 1960s? What path led this system to compliance with European law culminating with the Cour de cassation's Jacques
Vabre ruling in 1975 and the Conseil d'Etat's Nicolo decision in 1989?
To answer these questions, I argue that the French judicial acceptance of European law supremacy was the result of the struggle of two informal networks made up of powerful politicians and lawyers. Focusing on the period 1975-1989, the purpose of this new account (or New History) is to highlight on basis of comprehensive archival materials how the competition between a network of French sovereignty supporters (souverainistes) and a network of French supranationalists shaped European law and respectively challenged or facilitated its penetration into French law. Moreover I
seek to demonstrate how the shifting and contingent nature of this struggle largely determined how France positioned itself in front of European law in this period.
Original languageFrench
Title of host publicationL'Europe des citoyens et la citoyenneté européenne : Évolutions, limites et perspectives
EditorsMichel Catala, Stanislas Jeannesson, Anne-Sophie Lamblin-Gourdin
Number of pages16
Volume07
Place of PublicationBern
PublisherP.I.E. Peter Lang - Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien
Publication date1 Mar 2016
Edition1
Pages89-105
ISBN (Print)978-3-0343-2007-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-0352-0333-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
SeriesDynamiques Citoyennes en Europe
Volume07
ISSN2235-6231

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - European law, France, Informal networks, Jurists, Politicians, 1975-1989

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