A Constructivist Approach to the Study of the European Court of Justice and Legal Integration within the European Union
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe European Court of Justice and European integration has recently been the subject of scholarly discussion. The ECJ contributes to European integration in terms of legal integration. For legal integration to be possible, and therefore the ECJ to be successful, it is necessary for member states of the European Union to internalize the legal norms and rules of EU law, such as direct effect and EU law supremacy. The constructivist approach to European integration addresses this issue of internalization through the process of social learning whereby repeated interactions spawn new interests. The application of social learning within the member states comes from the repeated interactions of their national courts with the ECJ through the preliminary ruling procedure. Preliminary ruling enables national courts to learn the proper way in which EU law can be interpreted and applied. However, social learning by interaction with the ECJ is lost on the member states’ politicians because they are not in direct interaction with the ECJ. Therefore, the greater the position of the judicial system within the national politics of member states, which has undergone social learning with the ECJ, the higher the level of compliance with EU law there will be, furthering legal integration.
Degree ProgramHonors College