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Cover Politics in the European Union

16. The Court of Justice of the European Union  

This chapter focuses on the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which comprises two courts: the CJEU and the General Court. It first provides an overview of the CJEU’s structure and functions, and then discusses some of its main rulings and their significance. It further considers rulings on the powers of the institutions, some key legal judgments made in response to questions referred to the CJEU by national courts, the impact of CJEU rulings on EU policy, and post-Maastricht trends in the CJEU and EU law. It also assesses the evolving political reactions towards the judgments of the Court, along with the debate over whether the member states have been able to effectively curb the CJEU’s radical jurisprudence.


Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

14. The European Union  

A Constitutional Order in the Making

Berthold Rittberger

This chapter examines how the European Union acquired distinctive constitution-like features. It begins with a discussion of three routes to constitutionalization: the first is through changes in the EU's primary law; the second focuses on ‘in between’ constitutionalization; and the third leads directly to the European Court of Justice and its jurisprudence. The chapter proceeds by discussing two developments that have shaped the EU constitutional order almost since the beginning: the emergence of a body of EU law constituting a set of higher-order legal rules, and the consolidation of the constitutional principle of representative democracy. It explains how the supremacy and direct effect of EU law, as well as the EU court's concern with the protection of fundamental rights, helped transform the EU into a constitutional polity. It also considers how the extension of the legislative, budgetary, and other powers of the European Parliament animated the constitutional principle.


Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

7. Under the Shadow of Stagflation  

European Integration in the 1970s

Richard T. Griffiths

This chapter examines European integration during the 1970s. The 1970s is often portrayed as a dismal decade in the history of European integration, when the European Community (EC) experienced severe turbulence as it digested Britain's accession and was buffeted by the global economic downturn. Stagflation and Eurosclerosis — sluggish economic growth combined with institutional immobility — ensued. At the same time, however, the Community developed in important ways. The European Court of Justice generated an impressive body of case law, and the EC coped with the challenges of enlargement, the break-up of the international monetary system, and the consequences of slower economic growth. The chapter rejects the notion that the 1970s was a dismal decade in the history of European integration and describes it as a transitional period between the launch of the Community in the 1960s and the acceleration of European integration in the 1980s.


Cover The Institutions of the European Union

7. The Court of Justice of the European Union:  

a quiet leader

Sabine Saurugger and Fabien Terpan

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is one of the key institutions in the European political system, and amongst the less well known. Described as one of the most powerful international courts, and perceived as one of the reasons the UK left the European Union (EU) (their main argument being that they did not want to be held to account by an unelected and non-British court), the Court continues to be shrouded in mystery. The aim of this chapter is to facilitate an understanding of the structure, history, and workings of this Court, as a key actor in the EU’s institutional system. As such, it is not only a judicial actor but a ‘political’ actor too. Its constitutional role, as well as its role during the economic and financial crisis, illustrates these multiple facets.


Cover The European Union

3. The EU’s Institutions  

Richard Corbett, Daniel Kenealy, and Amelia Hadfield

It is impossible to understand the EU without a careful study of its key institutions and how they work. This chapter examines the six key institutions of the EU: the European Commission; the Council (of ministers); the European Council; the European Parliament; the Court of Justice of the European Union; and the European Central Bank. The chapter discusses the structures and formal powers of the six institutions and how these powers have evolved in practice over time. While it may be tempting to regard EU institutions as dry and complex, they are also dynamic organisms exercising a unique mix of legislative, executive, and judicial power. The chapter explains why these institutions matter in determining EU politics and policy more generally, focusing on three central themes: the extent to which the EU is an experiment in motion; the importance of power sharing and consensus; and the capacity of the EU structures to cope with the Union’s expanding size and scope.


Cover European Union Politics

13. The Court of Justice of the European Union  

Paul James Cardwell

This chapter provides an overview of the Court of Justice of the EU. The Court has emerged as a powerful player in the history and development of the European integration process. Its contribution to the workings of the EU and our understanding of it are central to both legal and political accounts, while its decision-making has at times been controversial. This chapter explores the history of the court as an institution of the EU, its composition, and how it has developed its role. It considers how we can understand the ‘politics’ of the judicial arm of the EU’s institutional framework and also discusses the ‘activism’ of the Court.


Cover Policy-Making in the European Union

13. Environmental Policy  

Contending Dynamics of Policy Change

Andrea Lenschow

This chapter focuses on the European Union’s environmental policy, the development of which was characterized by institutional deepening and the substantial expansion of environmental issues covered by EU decisions and regulations. Environmental policy presents a host of challenges for policy-makers, including the choice of appropriate instruments, improvement of implementation performance, and better policy coordination at all levels of policy-making. The chapter points to the continuing adaptations that have been made in these areas. It first considers the historical evolution of environmental policy in the EU before discussing the main actors in EU environmental policy-making, namely: the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and environmental interest groups. The chapter also looks at the EU as an international actor.