Transatlantic relations are perceived in non-legal scholarship as being “institutionally-light”. Legal scholarship has similarly viewed transatlantic relations as being dominated more by conflict than law. New scholarship in European Public Law presented in Amsterdam recently suggests that a reformulation of these views is warranted.

By Elaine Fahey

A workshop entitled “Transatlantic Relations: the nature of rule-making” was held on 21 January 2013 in Amsterdam at the KNAW, organised by Elaine Fahey and Deirdre Curtin (ACELG). This workshop examined contemporary legal issues of transatlantic relations from multidisciplinary perspectives, including, European Public Law, European Constitutional Law and European Criminal Law scholars, political scientists, international relations theorists and political theorists. A keynote address was given by Sophie in’t veld, a member of the European Parliament, a leading politician, negotiator and litigator in the area of transatlantic relations, who provided a thought-provoking perspective on the nature and state of transatlantic relations. The panels were chaired by Mark Pollack (Temple University), Jonathan Zeitlin, (University of Amsterdam) and Deirdre Curtin (ACELG), providing a diversity of disciplinary perspectives throughout.

The workshop took place in three sessions examining legal issues as to the institutional character of transatlantic relations, perspectives on transatlantic rule-making and transatlantic security. José Antonio Gutierrez-Fons (Court of Justice of the European Union) deliver a paper on adjudication techniques under the Commerce Clause and Article 114 TFEU, depicting similarities and differences in the judicial control of regulatory powers, followed by Elaine Mak (Erasmus University Rotterdam), who shared her research on Transatlantic Judicial Dialogues between the EU and US, while Davor Jancic of the LSE outlined in his presentation the nature of the European Parliament’s role in EU-US relations. The 3 papers were then discussed by Elaine Fahey (ACELG).

A second session on rule-making heard papers from Mark Pollack on the use of International Law by the US and EU, the use of law in bilateral and non-bilateral non-multilateral interactions between the EU and US by Elaine Fahey (ACELG). Tamara Takács (T.M.C. Asser Institute) delivered a paper on legal questions of inter alia a prospective Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement and the papers were discussed by Mark Pollack and José Antonio Gutierrez-Fons. A final session on security heard an address from Wyn Rees (Nottingham University) as to the legal questions of the US War on Terror and European compliance, a paper on Euro-assemblages and Preventive Security and the SWIFT Agreement was given by Marieke de Goede (University of Amsterdam), while Valsamis Mitseligas (Queen Mary University) delivered a paper on the search for coherence and transatlantic relations within EU external security policy and these papers were discussed by Steven Blockmans (ACELG).

Many novel research papers were delivered, offering a fresh legal perspective on contemporary rule-making between legal orders. The relevance of EU institutions to transatlantic relations was a particular feature of the workshop. Similarly, the operation of law inside and outside of bilateral relations, i.e. between the legal orders was also a significant aspect of the workshop. Non-legal scholars of transatlantic relations acknowledged the innovative and novel features of emerging legal scholarship. A publication proposal from the workshop is in progress, developing the framework of legal issues of contemporary transatlantic relations.

Dr. Elaine Fahey is Postdoctoral Researcher, Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance. Her personal page can be accessed here.

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