Schlagwort: Europarecht

Gazing at Europe: The Epistemic Authority of the MPIL

For the general international lawyer, neither specialized in EU law nor in European human rights law (never mind German public law), the assignment to discuss what the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (MPIL) has done for EU law, European human rights law and German public law assumes impossible dimensions: one might (almost) as well have asked me what the influence of NASA on the development of the US military has been. Plus, it is tempting to refer to the wise, if possibly apocryphal, words of Zhou En Lai when asked about the effects of the French revolution: it might be too early to tell… And yet, on closer scrutiny (and a different level of abstraction), it becomes plausible to sketch some contours, whether deriving from training, practical involvement, or theorizing.

It is generally acknowledged that the center of gravity of the MPIL has always rested with general international law; indeed, the appointment, in 2002, of Armin von Bogdandy as one of the directors, with a background more pronounced in both EU law and international trade law, may have raised a few eyebrows at the time. That is not to say no forays had been made into EU law and especially European human rights law: previous directors Rudolf Bernhardt and Jochen Frowein can justifiably claim to have been among the pioneers in that field. But even so, the MPIL was always more about international law than about EU law or even human rights law, all the more so once those disciplines started the slow separation process from international law. If in the 1960s it still made sense to view EU law as part of international law, by the late 1980s this had become considerably less plausible, and much the same applies, with a little time lag perhaps, to European human rights law. Others on this blog have indicated that, e.g., the ‘black series’ (Schwarze Reihe) of MPIL monographs and collective volumes, hugely impressive as it is, contains relatively little on both EU law and European human rights law, and much the same applies to the annals of the Heidelberg Journal of International Law (Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht).

Some Reproduction, Some Socialization

As far as training goes, large numbers of German public lawyers, EU lawyers and international lawyers must have passed through the MPIL at one stage of their career or another, either for a shorter stay or for a period of several years as research fellow. Having sometimes addressed some of them en groupe, it is reasonable to conclude that the best of them (in terms of professional skills) are very, very good indeed. There was a time – and perhaps there still is – when the external relations section of the EU’s legal service was staffed with many MPIL alumni; and personal experience suggests that rarely a group of lawyers can have had such a critical mass within an institution. By the same token, many German Foreign Office lawyers must have passed through MPIL, and many of the current generation of established German international law professors have spent considerable periods of time as well: think only of Jochen von Bernstorff, Isabel Feichtner, Matthias Goldmann, Nele Matz‑Lück, or Andreas Zimmermann – and I am probably omitting many more from the list than I should in polite company.

It is too easy to suggest that having passed through MPIL, these individuals transmit MPIL values and methods and ways of thinking on to the next generation (in the case of the professors) or to their colleagues (in the case of the civil servants – the distinction is blurry to begin with). On the other hand, it would also be far too easy to suggest that no transmission of values, methods and ways of thinking takes place; a strong case can made for legal education (and this includes doctoral and post‑doctoral training) as a process of socialization, where pupils first sit at their master’s feet and then become masters having their pupils themselves. Reproduction will rarely be total, but some reproduction, some socialization, will be present, all the more so when the training is high‑level.

And this is not limited to Germans working in Germany alone. MPIL alumni spend time in international organizations; those who come from abroad may end up working for their home governments, and some successful German international law academics based outside Germany have a strong background in the MPIL: think of Jutta Brunnée in Toronto, Nico Krisch in Geneva, or Ingo Venzke and Stephan Schill in Amsterdam – and again I am likely missing more than a few. In other words, in much the same way as the Chicago School of Economics has been (or still is) a training ground for economists worldwide, and Harvard Law School can credibly be seen as a global finishing school for legal practice (something the same school tries to emulate for a certain class of academics through its Institute for Global Law and Policy), so too has the MPIL delivered generations of international lawyers; therewith, it exercises considerable epistemic authority.

Rudolf Bernhardt as a Judge at the ECHR[1]

Such epistemic authority has also been exercised (and is still exercised) through involvement in practice. At least three of the German judges on the International Court of Justice over the last 60 years or so have spent a considerable period of time at the MPIL: Hermann Mosler (even as a director), Carl‑August Fleischhauer, and the current German judge, Georg Nolte. Hans‑Peter Kaul, another MPIL alumnus, was one of the judges at the International Criminal Court (which he helped create as well). Rüdiger Wolfrum, for two decades or so director of the MPIL, has spent many years at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and helped arbitrate a handful of disputes before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, while two other erstwhile directors (Bernhardt and Frowein) were members of the (now defunct) European Commission on Human Rights. More recently, Angelika Nussberger has been a judge at the European Court of Human Rights, while current director Anne Peters has been a member of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, tasked with promoting and evaluating the rule of law in the Council’s member states. Tongue‑in‑cheek it may be added that the other current director, Armin von Bogdandy, has served as the President of the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Tribunal, although this Tribunal, like some others in the international sphere, has yet to receive any cases.

Thinking and Re-Thinking International Law – and Europe’s Public Order

But perhaps the most obvious form epistemic authority can take, with academic institutions, is the thinking and re‑thinking of what goes on in the world. German legal scholarship is traditionally very good at this, but within the German tradition, the MPIL still stands out. Anne Peters has done much (in particular before her tenure at the MPIL commenced) to re‑think the global order as a constitutional legal order, more or less continuing the tradition going back at least to Hermann Mosler. Mosler famously imagined international society as a legal society, rather than, as was common when he wrote, as a fairly random collection of billiard balls, bound together by not much more than self‑interest and balances of power or, at best, by a shared sense of anarchy. And it is hardly an exaggeration to claim that Peters during her tenure has done much to re‑position the individual in the international legal order and has almost single‑handedly created a novel sub‑discipline within international law, in the form of animal law.

For his part, Armin von Bogdandy is responsible not only for guiding a re‑conceptualization of the field of international organizations law concentrating on the exercise of public authority on the international level, but also, more appropriate to the current assignment, for systematizing ideas about Europe’s public order and for identifying principles of European constitutional law.

Perhaps the main work to be referred to here is the monumental Principles of European Constitutional Law (co-edited with Jürgen Bast), conceived when the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was on the agenda but outliving that particular event: the principles identified – and more broadly the field of European constitutional law – do not require a particular constitutional document to retain their validity. One point to note though is that, being principles of constitutional law, they pertain more to the relationship between the EU and both its citizens and its member states, than to other matters. These constitutional principles include equal liberty, the rule of law, democracy, and solidarity, as well as principles of Union unity, respect for diversity among the member states, and the wonderful (and wonderfully intriguing) principle of Gemeinschaftstreue. The list is persusasive, and derives from a number of sources, including the case‑law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

Arguably though, not unlike a Rubik’s cube, a constitutional order has other sides as well. This has become considerably clearer after the book first saw the light, with the CJEU making much of a principle of autonomy in a case such as Achmea. And as autonomy is always a relational notion, the autonomy here is not so much autonomy vis‑à‑vis the member states, but rather the autonomy of EU law (its legal order) vis‑à‑vis competing legal orders.

Be that as it may, and despite the circumstance that such exercises always have a relatively high von‑Münchausen‑quality (a system pulling itself up by its own hair, so to speak), thinking of the EU in terms of constitutional principles was rather novel at the time, and has stood the test of time, at least thus far: the principles identified seem to have become generally accepted as such in the intervening two decades – and that marks quite an achievement.

Great Epistemic Power, Great Epistemic Responsibility

Armin von Bogdandy at the Max-Planck-Tag 2018[2]

So, it seems clear that MPIL exercises considerable epistemic authority: through training, through legal practice, through its research work. There is (ironically perhaps) always a price to pay: epistemic authority is rarely legitimated by considerations of democracy or the Rule of Law; instead, it takes place when democracy proves inert, or paralyzed, or disinterested. And of course some things cannot be democratically decided on to begin with: one cannot meaningfully legislate a ‘principle of solidarity’, e.g., or perhaps even ‘legislate’ principles to begin with. It may be possible to enact rules embodying solidarity, but principles are generally too evasive to be legislated. And this, in turn, suggests that much comes to depend on the individuals exercising epistemic authority: with great epistemic power comes great epistemic responsibility, to paraphrase an old maxim.

Even so, things could hardly be otherwise. An institution such as the MPIL is bound to exercise epistemic authority, whether it wants to or not. Bringing excellent scholars together, training them, sending them out in the world, participating in governance, and re‑thinking the law and legal orders: how could this, if done properly (or even improperly) not be authoritative? It may well be that the contribution of MPIL to international law has been more obvious than its contribution to EU law or European human rights law, but gazing at Europe nonetheless reveals something to reflect upon.

[1] Photo: ECHR.

[2] Photo: MPIL.


“Asylum Compromise” Revisited

In the early 1990s, Andreas Zimmermann – then a PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (MPIL) in Heidelberg – comprehensively addressed the question of the conformity of so-called “safe third country” (STC) practices in the field of refugee protection with international law. In 1992, in the run-up to the reform of the German asylum system, he wrote an expert opinion together with the institute’s director at the time, Jochen A. Frowein, for the German Federal Ministry of Justice titled “Der völkerrechtliche Rahmen für die Reform des deutschen Asylrechts” (“The International LawFramework for the Reform of German Asylum Law”)[1]. Following the adoption of Article 16a of the Basic Law – the German constitution –  in 1993, he wrote his PhD thesis titled “Das neue Grundrecht auf Asyl – Verfassungs- und völkerrechtliche Grenzen und Voraussetzungen” (“The New Fundamental Right to Asylum – Constitutional and International Law Limits and Requirements”).[2] The work was published in 1994 as part of the Heidelberg Max Planck Law book series “Contributions on Comparative Public Law and International Law”. It analyses in detail the legality of Article 16a of the Basic Law at the constitutional, European, and international level. Furthermore, in 1993, he also wrote an article on “Asylum Law in the Federal Republic of Germany in the Context of International Law”, which was published in the Heidelberg Journal on Comparative Public Law and International Law (HJIL).[3] In light of the current discourse surrounding the proposals for a reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), it is worthwhile revisiting these works.

The “Asylum Compromise” of 1993

In 1993, the concept of STC was introduced to the German constitution in an effort to deal with the high influx of war refugees from the former Yugoslavia. Germany thereby followed an emerging practice that originated in Switzerland to ensure a sharing of responsibility for asylum seekers  among members of the international community. States most impacted by refugee influx could reject an application for asylum as inadmissible and could subsequently send asylum seekers to another state on the condition that the receiving state could offer them adequate protection in accordance with accepted international standards.

Through the so-called “asylum compromise”, the right to asylum was severely restricted by means of changing Article 16 of the Basic Law. The previous version, formerly enshrined in Article 16(2) of the Basic Law read:

“Persons persecuted on political grounds shall have the right of asylum.”

Paragraph (2) of Article 16a of the Basic Law (introduced in 1993) stipulates:

“Paragraph (1) [the right to asylum] of this Article may not be invoked by a person who enters the federal territory from a member state of the European Communities or from another third state in which application of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is assured. […]”[4]

Safe Third Country Practices and International Law

Regarding the compliance of the STC concept enshrined in Paragraph (2) of Article 16a of the Basic Law with international law, Zimmermann’s main conclusions,[5] in 1993, are as follows:

Under customary international law, states are not subject to a duty to readmit persons other than their own nationals. Hence, sending an asylum seeker to a third state is only possible if that state has declared its willingness to readmit asylum seekers and provide them with the option to request refugee status in a legally binding agreement with the sending state.

Under the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention (thereinafter: Refugee Convention), states are generally not precluded from returning asylum seekers to third states. In any given case, however, it must be assured that the principle of non-refoulement, enshrined in Article 33 of the Refugee Convention, is abided by. This means that asylum seekers must be protected from persecution in the third state as well as from deportation by the third state to the presumed country of persecution (protection from chain deportations).

While STC can be determined in a generalized manner, it is necessary that the states in question are themselves bound by the Refugee Convention without geographical reservations and that their procedure of asylum application is in line with the procedural minimum standard under international law. However, even if the procedural guarantees of the Refugee Convention are generally complied with, the returning state is obliged to examine whether the receiving state fulfils its obligations under Article 33 of the Refugee Convention bona fide. In case of concrete indications that the respective third country is, in practice, not complying with the prohibition of refoulement stipulated in Article 33 of the Refugee Convention despite its formal commitment to the Convention, the returning state is obliged to review whether a country may remain on the list of STC.

Furthermore, before being sent back to a STC, a refugee must be granted an opportunity to claim that, in his or her individual case, the third state in question would not be safe.

Under the Refugee Convention, an asylum-seeker needs to be sufficiently connected to the third country in question for his or her transfer there to be legal. For example, a state has no right to return a person to a country through the airport of which he or she has passed for purposes of transit only.

Whereas the returning state must ensure that the third state abides by Article 33 of the Refugee Convention, it is not responsible for ensuring that allprovisions of the Refugee Convention are complied with in the third country.[6] Nevertheless, the third state must guarantee the refugee some kind of minimum living standard.

Under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), there are further special restrictions, e.g., with regard to the protection of family life (Article 8 ECHR) and the prohibition (under Article 3 ECHR) to create a situation where a person is permanently sent from one state to another and thus becomes a “refugee in orbit”.

Most of these findings about the legal safeguards still apply to today’s changed legal environment and have been further developed by scholarship and jurisprudence over the years. Some questions, however, remain disputed to this day: this includes whether the third state needs to be a party to the Refugee Convention and to what extent the sending state must ensure that provisions of the Refugee Convention are complied with in the third country.[7]

The Safe Third Country Concept in EU Asylum Law

In 2005, the concept of STC was incorporated at the EU-level in the 2005 Asylum Procedures Directive, which was later replaced by the 2013 Asylum Procedures Directive (rAPD). Article 38(1) rAPD stipulates that a member state may apply the STC concept only when the competent authorities are satisfied that a person seeking international protection will be treated in accordance with the following principles in the third country:

„(a) life and liberty are not threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion;

(b) there is no risk of serious harm as defined in Directive 2011/95/EU;

(c) the principle of non-refoulement in accordance with the Geneva Convention is respected;

(d) the prohibition of removal, in violation of the right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as laid down in international law, is respected; and

(e) the possibility exists to request refugee status and, if found to be a refugee, to receive protection in accordance with the Geneva Convention.”

Furthermore, according to Article 38(2)(a) rAPD, the applicant needs to be sufficiently connected to the STC, so that his or her return and seeking refuge there may be considered reasonable. If the conditions of Article 38 rAPD are met, a member state may consider an application for international protection to be inadmissible (Article 33(2)(c) rAPD).

Increasingly, restrictive immigration policies are aimed at deterring irregular arrivals and responsibility-shifting rather than responsibility-sharing. States are seeking to outsource migration management and international protection responsibility to third countries – mostly transit countries – already impacted by large refugee flows. These policies come with diminished safeguards, as demonstrated by the 2016 EU‑Turkey statement or the 2022 UK‑Rwanda agreement, the latter of which was recently declared unlawful by the UK Supreme Court for violating Article 3 ECHR.

While Article 16a of the Basic Law has lost its significance in German asylum law practice since the main regulations are now contained in international treaty law and EU law, the underlying question of the conformity of STC practices with international law remains a topical one. In June 2023, the European Council agreed on a negotiation position on the new Asylum Procedures Regulation. Under the latest[8] amended proposal for an Asylum Procedure Regulation (draft APR), the use of STC procedures shall be expanded by watering down and settling the legal safeguards of the concept on a low standard:

Article 43a(2) of the draft APR states that STC  need only provide “effective protection” to refugees but they are not obligated to grant them legal status, ensure full access to healthcare, or guarantee family unity. Furthermore, the concept of “de facto-protection”, on which Article 43a(2) draft APR is based, does not comply with international refugee law. However, whether the STC must be a party to the Refugee Convention (without geographical limitation) remains, as mentioned, controversial.[9] For instance, a STC could refer to a definition of refugee different than the one laid down in the Refugee Convention, as Zimmermann argues in his dissertation. Furthermore, as a non‐contracting state, a STC could claim to not be legally bound by the principle of non‐refoulement. Lastly, there would be no possibility for the UNHCR to intervene in cases of obvious breaches of the principle of non‑refoulement. Accordingly, at least in Zimmermann’s opinion, the STC must be a party to the Refugee Convention (as well as to other human rights treaties relevant to asylum).[10] With the concept of non-refoulement becoming customary in international law and, arguably, jus cogens, the argument Zimmermann makes may have lost some of its traction. However, an expansion of the circle of STC in the sense that it is no longer required for a third country to respect the principle of non-refoulement “in accordance with the Geneva Convention”[11] would be contradictory to Article 78(1) TFEU and Article 18 of the EU-Charter which require, respectively, that the EU’s asylum policy be “in accordance” with the Refugee Convention and that “the right to asylum shall be guaranteed with due respect for the rules of the Geneva Convention”.

According to Article 45(1)(a) of the draft APR, the safety of a country is to be assessed with reference to “non-nationals”. STC could therefore include countries persecuting their own citizens and producing refugees themselves. Additionally, a third country may be categorized as a STC “with the exception of certain parts of its territory or clearly identifiable groups of persons”, Article 45(1a) draft APR. This could lead to the relocation of asylum seekers to an unstable third state, where a protection zone equivalent to the size of a refugee camp is effectively managed and asylum seekers are held there with their subsistence ensured. This raises unresolved questions regarding the EU’s responsibility for ensuring adequate living standards in third countries as well as the inclusion of asylum seekers in line with the Refugee Convention (cf. Zimmermann’s findings above).

Fortunately, the “reasonable connection requirement” is to be upheld and its definition is subject to rules under national law. This prevents EU member states from concluding a UK‑Rwanda‑like agreement and sending refugees to faraway countries with which they lack any connection. Under Article 45(2b)(b), Recital 37 of the draft APR, a reasonable connection may be established when the applicant has settled or stayed in the third country. Proposals that included references to “transit” as conclusive evidence of a connection were unsuccessful. This is in line with the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).[12] The examples provided of “settlement” and “stay” nonetheless give member states some room for interpretation in this direction. Having said that, the “reasonable connection requirement” as laid out by Zimmermann in 1994 should inform these interpretations.

Member states may presume the safety of a third country on the mere basis of an agreement between the EU and said third country as well as general assurances by that country that readmitted migrants will be “protected in accordance with the relevant international standards”, Article 45(3) draft APR. The EU-Turkey deal, however, is living proof that the mere existence of an agreement does not guarantee its safety in practice. This is why the 2007 Michigan Guidelines on Protection Elsewhere require, for permitting the referral of an asylum seeker to “protection elsewhere”, a “good faith empirical assessment”[13] by the sending state that refugees will enjoy Refugee Convention rights in the receiving state.[14] The burden of proof in this respect therefore does not lie with the asylum seeker but with the country where the asylum application was lodged, as it retains the responsibility for any action in violation of its obligations under international law, particularly the principle of non-refoulement (cf. Zimmermann’s findings above).

Conclusion and Outlook

After three years of negotiations, the European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on the key proposals of the Pact on 20 December 2023, including the Asylum Procedures Directive. This opened the door for further negotiations regarding technical details with a formal adoption expected before the European Parliament elections in June 2024.

The latest proposal for the APR is an example of an attempt at lowering standards with regard to the concept of STC and contradicts the EU’s endorsement of a positive contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights.[15] Once it is formally adopted (changes by means of the political agreement reached in December 2023 and further political discussions notwithstanding), refugee protection in the EU will largely depend on how member states interpret and enforce the regulation. It will be important for member states to consider the real circumstances in the third countries in question. Furthermore, due consideration should be taken of the principles of international cooperation and responsibility-sharing as expressions of international solidarity, a concept which is enshrined in the preamble of the Refugee Convention. Member states should conduct negotiations with all third countries along the migration routes and the EU should make more attractive offers of cooperation with regard to migration policy towards the relevant third countries. To this end, it should also utilize development policy instruments, for example supporting these countries in strengthening their asylum and migration policy capacities.

30 years after the German “asylum compromise”, migration remains at the forefront of the political debate. Concomitant with this is the desire of states to send asylum seekers and, by extension, responsibility to third countries. The debate about international human rights and refugee protection standards in this regard must likewise continue and it is worth bringing to attention some “old” arguments such as those put forward by Andreas Zimmermann and Jochen Frowein at the MPIL.

[1] Jochen A. Frowein, Andreas Zimmermann, Der völkerrechtliche Rahmen für die Reform des deutschen Asylrechts: Gutachten im Auftrag des Bundesministeriums der Justiz erstattet vom Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht, Heidelberg, Bundesanzeiger 45 (1993).

[2] Andreas Zimmermann, Das neue Grundrecht auf Asyl – Verfassungs- und völkerrechtliche Grenzen und Voraussetzungen, Contributions on Comparative Public Law and International Law vol. 115, Heidelberg: Springer 1994.

[3] Andreas Zimmermann, ‘Asylum Law in the Federal Republic of Germany in the Context of International Law’, HJIL 53 (1993), 49-87.

[4] Translation: Christian Tomuschat et al., in cooperation with the Language Service of the German Bundestag, Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany in the revised version published in the Federal Law Gazette Part III, classification number 100-1, as last amended by the Act of 19 December 2022 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 2478).

[5] Compare: Zimmermann (fn. 2), 400-401.

[6] This is to be read against the background that, in Andreas Zimmermann’s opinion, it is required under international law that a STC is a party to the Refugee Convention.

[7] Rainer Hofmann and Tillmann Löhr, ‘Introduction to Chapter V: Requirements for Refugee Determination Procedures’ in: Andreas Zimmermann, Felix Machts and Jonas Dörschner (eds), The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol: A Commentary, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011, 1112-1113.

[8] Any changes that were agreed upon as part of the political agreement reached in December 2023 are not expected to be available on paper until February 2014.

[9] Hofmann and Löhr (fn. 7), 1112, para 79.

[10] Compare: Zimmermann (fn. 2), 174f.

[11] Article 38(1)(c) rAPD.

[12] See CJEU, LH v. Bevándorlási és Menekültügyi Hivatal, judgement of 19 March 2020, case no. C-564/18, ECLI:EU:C:2020:218; CJEU, FMS, FNZ, SA, SA junior v. Országos Idegenrendészeti Főigazgatóság Dél-alföldi Regionális Igazgatóság, Országos Idegenrendészeti Főigazgatóság, judgement of 14 May 2020 in joint cases no. C-924/19 PPU and C-925/19 PPU, ECLI:EU:C:2020:367; CJEU, European Commission v. Hungary, judgement of 16 November 2021, case no. C-821/19, ECLI:EU:C:2021:930.

[13] Emphasis added.

[14] See also: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Guidance Note on bilateral and/or multilateral transfer arrangements of asylum-seekers, May 2013, available at: <>  (last accessed: 18 January 2024), para 3(iii).

100 Jahre Öffentliches Recht

100 Years of Public Law


Die Entwicklung der Disziplin und das MPI

Vor 100 Jahren, als das Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht gegründet wurde, verlief zwischen dem Völkerrecht und dem Staatsrecht noch eine scharfe Grenze. Das Völkerrecht regelte die Außenbeziehungen von Staaten, das Verfassungsrecht das Innenverhältnis in Staaten. Überwölbt wurden beide von der Souveränität, die Staaten zugeschrieben wurde und im Kern das Selbstbestimmungsrecht nach außen wie im Inneren meinte. Die äußere Souveränität gab den Staaten einerseits das Recht, ihre Beziehung untereinander frei zu regeln. Andererseits schützte sie die Staaten vor der Einmischung fremder Staaten in ihre inneren Angelegenheiten. Die innere Souveränität bezog sich auf das Recht der Staaten, ihre Herrschafts- und Gesellschaftsordnung frei zu bestimmen, und fand ihren höchsten Ausdruck in der Verfassungsgebung. Beide Seiten der Souveränität hingen insofern zusammen, als die äußere Voraussetzung der inneren ist.

Dementsprechend konnten die Disziplinen des Völkerrechts und des Staatsrechts ein Eigenleben führen. Wo die eine endete, begann die andere. Es war möglich, Völkerrecht zu erforschen und zu lehren, ohne dass man sich im Staatsrecht auskannte, und umgekehrt. Beide waren juristische Disziplinen, aber sie hatten es mit verschiedenen Arten von Recht zu tun. Das Völkerrecht war vertraglich begründetes Recht und ermangelte einer überstaatlichen öffentlichen Gewalt, die es hätte durchsetzen können. Das öffentliche Recht ging aus Gesetzgebung hervor und war mit Sanktionsmöglichkeiten versehen. So verhielt es sich auch noch, als ich 1957 das Jurastudium aufnahm, obwohl damals mit der Gründung der Vereinten Nationen bereits eine grundlegende Änderung der Verhältnisse eingetreten war, die sich aber nicht sofort in einer geänderten Wahrnehmung niederschlug. Ich möchte sogar sagen, dass es sich auch noch so verhielt, als ich 1979 Professor für Öffentliches Recht in Bielefeld wurde. Mein Büro befand sich neben dem von Jochen Frowein, der den Lehrstuhl für Völkerrecht innehatte, bevor er Direktor des Heidelberger Max-Planck-Instituts wurde. Wir pflegten ein gut nachbarliches Verhältnis, aber mit seiner Disziplin hatte ich nichts zu tun.

Die Veränderung, die mit der Gründung der UN einherging, war fundamental, wenngleich sie wegen des bald einsetzenden Ost-West-Gegensatzes, der den Weltsicherheitsrat lähmte, lange Zeit latent blieb. Fundamental war sie gleichwohl, weil die UN sich von älteren internationalen Bündnissen und Allianzen dadurch unterschied, dass ihr von den Staaten Hoheitsrechte abgetreten worden waren, welche sie nun ihnen gegenüber ausüben durfte, notfalls mit militärischer Gewalt, ohne dass die Staaten sich dagegen unter Berufung auf ihre Souveränität wehren konnten. Oberhalb der Staaten gab es nun eine internationale öffentliche Gewalt mit Rechtsetzungsbefugnissen und Durchsetzungsmechanismen, die das nationale Recht auf Dauer nicht unberührt ließ. Die dreihundert Jahre währende Identität von öffentlicher Gewalt und Staatsgewalt war damit zu Ende. Die Grenze zwischen den beiden Rechtsmassen und damit auch zwischen den Disziplinen wurde porös. An Bedeutung steht diese Veränderung der Entstehung des Staates im 16. Jahrhundert und seiner Konstitutionalisierung im 18. Jahrhundert nicht nach.


Infolge dieser Entwicklung nahm das Völkerrecht an Bedeutung erheblich zu. Der Bedeutungsgewinn äußerte sich gerade in der Grenzüberschreitung zum nationalen Recht. Die staatliche Souveränität ist seitdem keine absolute mehr, und zwar weder nach außen noch nach innen. Das Mittel des Krieges, ehedem mangels anderer Durchsetzungsmechanismen zur Rechtsverwirklichung statthaft, wurde illegitim. Nur der Verteidigungskrieg ist noch zulässig. Ferner hat sich ein ius cogens ausgebildet, das die Staaten beim Vertragsschluss bindet. Der Einzelne hat eine Rechtsstellung im Völkerrecht gewonnen. Die Staaten sind in der Regelung ihrer inneren Verhältnisse nicht mehr völlig frei. Das humanitäre Völkerrecht zieht ihnen Grenzen. Grundrechte – ihrer Genese in der amerikanischen und der französischen Revolution nach schon immer Menschenrechte – sind es nun auch ihrer Wirkung nach, wenngleich an Effektivität immer noch weit hinter dem staatlichen Grundrechtsschutz zurückbleibend. Humanitäre Interventionen sind im Prinzip anerkannt. Die internationale Gerichtsbarkeit hat einen erheblichen Aufschwung genommen. Weitere supranationale Institutionen sind unter oder neben den UN zustande gekommen. Die wissenschaftliche Disziplin, die diese Entwicklung zum Teil vorgedacht hat, sah sich dadurch wiederum in ihrer Bedeutung beträchtlich gesteigert.

Europäisches Recht

In Europa hat sich diese Entwicklung noch einmal beschleunigt und intensiviert. Sie begann bald nach der Entstehung der UN mit der Gründung des Europarats 1949. In Gestalt der Europäischen Menschenrechtskonvention steht ihm ein rechtliches Instrument zur Verfügung, das einen Mindeststandard an Menschenrechtsschutz in den Mitgliedstaaten garantieren soll und vom Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte durchgesetzt werden kann. Die EMRK hält sich im Rahmen des traditionellen Völkerrechts insofern, als sie Entscheidungen des EGMR keine unmittelbare innerstaatliche Wirkung entfalten, also den für konventionswidrig befundenen staatlichen Akt nicht annullieren. Sie überschreiten die Grenzen des traditionellen Völkerrechts aber dadurch, dass Einzelne die Mitgliedstaaten wegen Verletzung von Konventionsrechten verklagen können. Zwar hat der Europarat nicht die Möglichkeit, Urteile zwangsweise durchzusetzen. Er kann aber immerhin den Staaten Geldstrafen auferlegen, wenn sie sich nicht an die Urteile des EGMR halten.

Eine weitere Steigerung entfaltete die Europäische Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft, die in demselben Jahr gegründet wurde, als ich mit dem Jurastudium begann, ohne sich aber im Jurastudium schon auszuwirken. Die EWG, heute EU, übertrifft alle anderen supranationalen Organisationen an Kompetenzfülle und Organisationsdichte und übt die ihr von den Mitgliedstaaten übertragenen öffentlichen Gewalt nicht nur anlassbezogen und punktuell aus wie die UN, sondern permanent und flächendeckend. Seit den grundstürzenden Entscheidungen des Europäischen Gerichtshofs in den Fällen van Gend & Loos und Costa v. ENEL von 1963 und 1964 beansprucht das europäische Recht Vorrang vor dem nationalen Recht. Erst durch die Rechtsprechung des Gerichts ist die EU zu dem geworden, was sie heute ist: ein präzedenzloses Gebilde zwischen einer supranationalen Organisation und einem Bundesstaat, aber näher an diesem als an jener. Der EuGH setzt den Vorrang nicht nur beharrlich durch, sondern erweitert den Anwendungsbereich des Europarechts noch durch eine außerordentlich extensive Interpretation, der nur einige nationale Verfassungsgerichte äußerste Grenzen zu ziehen versuchen.

Nachhaltiger als das Völkerrecht änderte das Europarecht den Gegenstand des öffentlichen Rechts, den Staat und die staatliche Rechtsordnung. Gleichwohl wurde es noch lange ohne Bezug zum Verfassungsrecht, ja zum nationalen Recht überhaupt, behandelt. Anfangs kümmerten sich teils Völkerrechtler, teils Verfassungsrechtler um das neue Rechtsgebiet. Bald schon trat aber eine Spezialisierung des Europarechts ein. Europarechtliche Lehrstühle, Lehrveranstaltungen, Vereinigungen, Zeitschriften und Kongresse entstanden. Eine Eigenart der neuen Disziplin war, dass sich ihre Vertreter überwiegend mit dem politischen Projekt der europäischen Integration identifizierten und daher eine kritische Distanz zum Gegenstand vermissen ließen. Die Europarechtswissenschaft war lange Zeit apologetisch und wurde damit der Funktion von Wissenschaft nicht völlig gerecht.


Dieter Grimm als Richter am Bundesverfassungsgericht 1987 [1]

Im Staatsrecht vollzog sich unterdessen eine ambivalente Entwicklung. Der Bedeutungsgewinn des internationalen Rechts macht sich innerstaatlich primär als Bedeutungsverlust der nationalen Verfassungen bemerkbar. Jede Kompetenzabtretung an supranationale Organisationen verkürzt den Anwendungsbereich der nationalen Verfassungen. Sie können ihren Anspruch, die auf dem Territorium des Staates ausgeübte öffentliche Gewalt umfassend zu regeln, nicht mehr einlösen. Der Rechtszustand eines Staates ergibt sich nur noch aus einer Zusammenschau von nationalem und internationalem Recht. Es muss aber betont werden, dass das nicht notwendig gegen die Verfassung gerichtet ist. Das Grundgesetz zum Beispiel war von Anfang an offen für die Anwendung überstaatlichen Rechts in seinem Geltungsbereich. Die Entwicklung darf auch nicht nur unter Verlustgesichtspunkten gesehen werden. Gerade beim Menschenrechtsschutz ist in vielen Staaten, in denen die Grundrechte bis dahin rechtlich keine Rolle spielten, durch den internationalen Menschenrechtsschutz eine erhebliche Verbesserung eingetreten.

Andererseits ist es durch die Ausbreitung der Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit in der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts zu einer ganz neuen Relevanz der Verfassung für politisches Handeln und gesellschaftliche Verhältnisse gekommen. Ausgangspunkt für Deutschland (und im Gefolge für zahlreiche weitere Staaten) war das Lüth-Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichts, erlassen im selben Jahr, in dem die EWG ins Leben trat. Von ihm ist über die Zeit eine Entwicklung ausgegangen, die zu einer Konstitutionalisierung der gesamten nationalen Rechtsordnung geführt hat. Die Disziplin des Staatsrechts, infolge dieser Bedeutungssteigerung der Verfassung fast nur noch als Verfassungsrecht bezeichnet, hatte daran erheblichen Anteil. Entgegen der bekannten These hat das Bundesverfassungsgericht die Staatsrechtslehre nicht „entthront“. Vielmehr konnte das Gericht für bedeutende Urteile auf neue Erkenntnisse der Staatsrechtslehre zurückgreifen.

Die Existenz der Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit hat die Staatsrechtslehre dann aber auch wieder zu immer neuen dogmatischen Verfeinerungen angespornt, so dass heute bereits vor einer Überdogmatisierung gewarnt wird. Allemal ist aber die öffentliche Bedeutung der Staatsrechtslehre durch die überragende Wichtigkeit des Verfassungsgerichts erheblich gestiegen. War die Weimarer Republik mit ihrer ständig gefährdeten Verfassung eine Blütezeit der Verfassungstheorie, so ist die Bundesrepublik mit ihrer fest verwurzelten Verfassung eine Blütezeit der Verfassungsdogmatik. Obwohl die Fortschritte des Völkerrechts und noch weit mehr die Auswirkungen des europäischen Rechts – EMRK wie Unionsrecht – den Gegenstand der Wissenschaft vom öffentlichen Recht, den Staat und das Staatsrecht, nachhaltig verändert haben, hat es lange gedauert, bis die Disziplin die Veränderungen wahrnahm und als relevant für die Behandlung des eigenen Fachs anerkannte.


Die zunehmende Verflechtung der Rechtsordnungen, vertikal wie horizontal, hat der Verfassungsvergleichung, ja, dem Vergleich im öffentlichen Recht überhaupt, erheblichen Auftrieb gegeben. Lange Zeit war Rechtsvergleichung keine eigenständige Disziplin. Das heißt nicht, dass es sie nicht gab, sondern nur, dass sie sich noch nicht zu einer Disziplin verdichtet hatten. Rechtsvergleichende Forschungen entsprangen weitgehend der Neigung Einzelner und bezogen sich meist auf wenige favorisierte Länder, oft nur das eigene und ein weiteres. Seit dem neuen Jahrtausend ist die Rechtsvergleichung, gerade im Verfassungsrecht, ein boomendes Feld. Die Gründe liegen zum einen in der Intensivierung der Staatenbeziehungen, zum anderen in der Internationalisierung, die das Bedürfnis nach Kenntnis fremder Rechte erheblich erhöht hat. Hinzu kommt die große Zahl neuer Verfassungen und neuer Verfassungsgerichte gegen Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts, die den Vergleich beflügelt hat.

Mittlerweile kann man an den Universitäten und Forschungseinrichtungen bereits eine Verselbständigung der Rechtsvergleichung beobachten. Vergleichende Lehrveranstaltungen werden heute routinemäßig abgehalten, die Zahl komparatistischer Publikationen, Periodika, Vereinigungen und Kongresse wächst kontinuierlich. Der Verfassungsvergleich wird mit anderen Erkenntnisinteressen und anderen Methoden betrieben als die wissenschaftliche Bearbeitung des positiven Rechts. Beide widmen sich einem normativen Gegenstand. Aber einmal steht die Geltung und richtige Deutung und Anwendung des geltenden Rechts im Vordergrund, das andere Mal die Rechtswirkung und die tatsächliche Praxis. Hier wird die Forschung in normativer, dort in empirischer Absicht betrieben. Dementsprechend dominiert hier die juristische Interpretation, dort die rechtssoziologische Erhebung.

Der Vergleich findet häufig noch verhältnismäßig unambitioniert statt. Es gibt Textvergleiche, Institutionenvergleiche, Rechtsprechungsvergleiche, bisweilen auch Methodenvergleiche, jedoch oft ohne Berücksichtigung des Kontextes, in dem das Recht seine Wirkung entfaltet und von dem die Wirkung abhängt. Diese Art der Rechtsvergleichung ist nicht nutzlos, aber von begrenztem Nutzen. Erst die Einbeziehung der Rechtsverwirklichung vermittelt vertiefte und realitätsnahe Kenntnisse des fremden Rechts und erlaubt Rückschlüsse auf das eigene. Für das eigene Recht kann man bis zu einem gewissen Grad ohne Kontext auskommen, weil das Kontextwissen immer schon mitläuft, oft unausgesprochen oder sogar unbewusst. Für ausländisches Recht muss der Kontext explizit gemacht werden. Das macht die Rechtsvergleichung schwierig, aber auch erst ertragreich.

Ähnlich verhält es sich mit der Theoriegeleitetheit der vergleichenden Forschung. Sie präjudiziert den Blick auf den Gegenstand. Im Rahmen dieses kurzen Vortrags ist nur Zeit, auf zwei Großtheorien einzugehen. Es gibt Rechtsvergleichung auf der Grundlage der Annahme, dass das öffentliche Recht (wie Recht überhaupt) eine relative Autonomie genießt und rechtliche Operationen einer spezifisch juristischen Logik folgen. Für andere ist das ein realitätsblinder Idealismus. Verfassungen sind dann nicht zur Legitimation und Limitation von Herrschaft da, sondern erweisen sich als hegemoniale Projekte zur Machtsicherung über die Zeit. Rechtsprechung ist für diese sich als realistisch verstehende Forschungsrichtung ein Vorgang, der anderen als juristischen Kriterien folgt, weil Richter wie politische oder wirtschaftliche Akteure Nutzenmaximierer sind und anderweitig gefundene Ergebnisse nur nachträglich als rechtlich zwingend ausgeben. Dogmatik und Methode erscheinen dann als Berufsideologie. Sie verdienen keine wissenschaftliche Beachtung. Das erklärt das Desinteresse vieler Rechtsvergleicher am Vorgang der Auslegung und Anwendung des Rechts. In den USA ist diese Sicht weit verbreitet, in Europa hat sie bisher nicht die Oberhand gewonnen.


Wenn ich mich zum Schluss der Frage zuwende, wie sich diese Entwicklung in dem Max-Planck-Institut widerspiegelt, so handelt es sich zum einen um Eindrücke, die keiner eigenen Forschung entspringen, zum anderen um Informationen, die ich den Forschungen von Felix Lange entnehme. Danach dominierte in der Zeit von der Gründung des Instituts bis zum Kriegsende das Völkerrecht. Das entsprach den Gründungsmotiven des Instituts, den völkerrechtlichen Standpunkt des Deutschen Reichs in der vom Versailler Vertrag geprägten Nachkriegszeit zu stärken. Auch nach der Wiedergründung im Jahr der Entstehung der Bundesrepublik blieb es trotz der veränderten Bedingungen zunächst bei der Priorisierung des Völkerrechts. Offenkundig war der Praxisbezug der Forschung. Dem entsprach die Methode. Im Unterschied zu einer eher philosophisch-historischen Annäherung an den Gegenstand, der anderwärts vorherrschte, war sie juristisch. Neuere Fragestellungen und Theorieansätze hatten lange keine Chance.

Die Wirkung des Instituts war freilich groß. Allenthalben traf man auf den völkerrechtlichen Lehrstühlen in Deutschland Habilitanden aus dem MPI an. Für den europäischen Menschenrechtsschutz war das MPI besonders wichtig, weil zwei seiner Direktoren Richter am EGMR waren, Hermann Mosler von 1959 bis 1981, Rudolf Bernhardt von 1981 bis 1998, zuletzt sogar Präsident. Ein weiterer Direktor, Jochen A. Frowein, gehörte von 1973 bis 1993 der Europäischen Kommission für Menschenrechte an, die dem Gerichtshof bis zu der Reform von 1999 vorgeschaltet war. Georg Ress, der von 1998 bis 2004 als EGMR-Richter amtierte und zuvor schon Mitglied der Kommission gewesen war, war aus dem MPI hervorgegangen.

Für das deutsche Staatsrecht war das Institut nicht zuständig, wohl aber von Beginn an für das ausländische öffentliche Recht. Gleichwohl trat der Vergleich erst seit Ende der fünfziger Jahre stärker in Erscheinung, insbesondere durch breit angelegte vergleichende Kolloquien, die ihren bleibenden Niederschlag in zum Teil umfangreichen Publikationen fanden. Viele machen aber den Eindruck einer eher additiven als integrativen Vergleichung. Stark war das Institut jedoch, was die Vorhaltung von Expertise über das öffentliche Recht fremder Staaten betraf. Diese Expertise war aber nicht in sich rechtsvergleichend. Insofern bildete das Jahr 2002 eine Zäsur in der Institutsgeschichte. Erstmals wurde ein Direktor berufen, dessen Interessenschwerpunkt nicht das Völkerrecht war, sondern das Europarecht und die Rechtsvergleichung im öffentlichen Recht, und zwar mit erkennbar theoretischen Ambitionen, die vor allem der Erklärung des öffentlichen Rechts unter Bedingungen der Internationalisierung und Globalisierung galten. Der internationale Einfluss des MPI ist damit abermals gestiegen.

[1] Foto: Dieter Grimm.


The development of the discipline and of the MPI

100 years ago, when the Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law was founded, a sharp boundary divided international law and constitutional law. International law regulated the external relations among states, constitutional law the internal relations within states. However, both shared the notion of sovereignty, which was ascribed to states and in essence referred to the right to self-determination both externally and internally. External sovereignty gave states the right to freely regulate their relations with each other, on the one hand. On the other hand, it  protected them from interference in their internal affairs by foreign states. Internal sovereignty referred to the right of states to freely determine their system of governance and social order and found its highest manifestation in the act of constitution-making. Both sides of sovereignty were related insofar as external sovereignty is a prerequisite for internal sovereignty.

Consequently, the disciplines of international law and constitutional law could exist independently of each other. Where one ended, the other began. It was possible to research and teach international law without being familiar with constitutional law, and vice versa. Both were legal disciplines, but they dealt with different types of law. International law was based on treaties and lacked a supranational public authority that could have enforced it. Public law emerged from legislation and was characterised by the possibility of sanctions. This was still the case when I started studying law in 1957, even though a fundamental change in circumstances had already occurred with the founding of the United Nations, which, however, was not immediately reflected in a changed perception. I might even go so far as to say that this was still the case when I became Professor of Public Law in Bielefeld in 1979. My office neighboured that of Jochen Frowein, who held the Chair of Public International Law before becoming Director of the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg. We had a good neighbourly relationship, but I had nothing to do with his field.

The transformation that was brought forth by the founding of the UN was fundamental, even if it remained latent for a prolonged period of time due to the onset of the East-West conflict, which paralysed the UN Security Council. Nevertheless, it was a fundamental change because the UN differed from older international associations and alliances in that states had transferred sovereign rights to it, which it was now authorised to exert on them, if necessary by using military force, without the states being able to defend themselves by invoking their sovereignty. Above the states, there existed now an international public authority with legislative powers and enforcement mechanisms that in the long term would not leave national law untouched. The three-hundred-year-old identity of public authority and state authority had thus come to an end. The boundary between the two bodies of law and consequently between the disciplines became porous. In terms of significance, this change equals the emergence of the state in the 16th century and its constitutionalisation in the 18th century.

International Law

As a result of this development, the importance of international law increased considerably. The increase manifested itself particularly in the transgression of the border with national law. Since then, state sovereignty is no longer absolute, both internally and externally. War, formerly permissible due to the lack of other enforcement mechanisms for the realisation of law, became illegitimate. It remains permissible only for purposes of self-defense. Furthermore, a jus cogens has developed, which binds states when concluding treaties. The individual has gained a legal status in international law. States are no longer completely free to regulate their internal relations. International humanitarian law imposes limits on them. Fundamental rights – in the American and French revolutions already perceived as human rights – are now human rights also in terms of their impact, even if their effectiveness still lags far behind the protection of fundamental rights by the state. Humanitarian interventions are in principle recognised. International jurisdiction has seen a considerable upswing. Other supranational institutions have come into being under or alongside the UN. The academic discipline, which in part anticipated this development, has in turn seen its importance increased considerably.

European Law

In Europe, this development has once again accelerated and intensified. It began soon after the emergence of the UN with the founding of the Council of Europe in 1949. In the form of the European Convention on Human Rights, it has a legal instrument at its disposal that is intended to guarantee a minimum standard of human rights protection in the member states and can be enforced by the European Court of Human Rights. The ECHR remains within the framework of traditional international law insofar as decisions of the ECtHR do not have direct domestic effect, i.e. they do not annul state acts found to be contrary to the Convention. However, they exceed the limits of traditional international law in that individuals can sue member states for violations of convention rights. The Council of Europe does not have the power to enforce judgements. However, it can impose fines on states if they do not comply with the judgements of the ECtHR.

The European Economic Community, which was founded in the same year that I started studying law, was another step forward, although it had no impact on my law studies. The EEC, now the EU, surpasses all other supranational organisations in terms of powers and organisational density, and exercises the public authority delegated to it by the member states not only on an ad hoc and selective basis like the UN, but permanently and comprehensively. Since the landmark decisions of the European Court of Justice in the van Gend & Loos and Costa v. ENEL cases of 1963 and 1964, European law claims precedence over national law. It is only through the jurisprudence of the Court that the EU has become what it is today: an unprecedented entity between a supranational organisation and a federal state, but closer to the latter than to the former. The ECJ not only persistently enforces primacy, but also extends the scope of application of European law by means of an extraordinarily extensive interpretation, which only some national constitutional courts attempt to draw ultimate limits to.

European law changed the object of public law, the state, and the national legal order, more permanently than international law. Nevertheless, for a long time it was treated without reference to constitutional law, or indeed to national law in general. Initially, the new area of law was dealt with partly by international law experts and partly by constitutional law experts. Soon, however, the treatment of European law became a matter for specialists. Chairs, courses, associations, journals, and congresses on European law were established. One peculiarity of the new discipline was that its members predominantly identified with the political project of European integration and therefore lacked a critical distance to the subject matter. For a long time, the discipline of European law was apologetic and thus did not fully fulfil its scholarly function.

Constitutional Law

Dieter Grimm as Federal Constitutional Court judge, 1987 [1]

Meanwhile, an ambivalent development has taken place in constitutional law. The growing importance of international law entails a loss of importance of national constitutions. Every transfer of competences to supranational organisations reduces the scope of application of national constitutions. They can no longer fulfil their claim to comprehensively regulate the public authority exercised on the territory of the state. The law of the land can only be ascertained by way of a synopsis of national and international law. However, it must be emphasised that this is not necessarily directed against the constitution. German Basic Law, for example, has always been open to the application of supranational law within its area of application. The development should not only be seen from a perspective of loss. International human rights protection, for instance, has led to a considerable improvement in the protection of human rights in many states where fundamental rights had previously played no legal role.

On the other hand, the spread of constitutional jurisdiction in the second half of the 20th century led to a completely new relevance of the constitution for political action and social relations. The starting point for Germany (and subsequently for numerous other countries) was the Lüth judgement of the Federal Constitutional Court, issued in the same year in which the EEC came into being. Over the course of time, it has resulted in the constitutionalisation of the entire national legal system. The discipline of “Staatsrecht”, almost exclusively referred to as constitutional law as a consequence of this increase in the importance of the constitution, played a significant role in this. Contrary to a well-known thesis, the Federal Constitutional Court has not “dethroned” the discipline of “Staatsrecht”. On the contrary, the Court was able to draw on new insights from constitutional law theory for important judgements.

The existence of constitutional jurisdiction has, however, spurred constitutional law doctrine on to ever new dogmatic refinements, so that today there are already warnings of an over-dogmatisation. Nevertheless, the public significance of the discipline has increased considerably due to the paramount importance of the Constitutional Court. While the Weimar Republic, with its constantly jeopardised constitution, was a high point of constitutional theory, the Federal Republic, with its firmly rooted constitution, is a high point of constitutional dogmatics. Although the progress of international law and even more so the effects of European law – the ECHR and Union law – have permanently changed the subject of the study of public law, the state and its law, it took a long time for the discipline to recognise the changes and acknowledge them as relevant for the study of its own subject.

Comparative Law

The increasing interdependence of legal systems, both vertically and horizontally, has given comparative constitutional law, and indeed comparative public law in general, a considerable impetus. For a long time, comparative law was not an independent discipline. This does not mean that it did not exist, but merely that it had not yet crystallised into a discipline. Comparative legal research was largely the result of the inclination of individuals and usually related to a few favoured countries, often just one’s own and one further country. Since the new millennium, comparative law has been a booming field, especially in constitutional law. The reasons for this lie on the one hand in the intensification of state relations and on the other in internationalisation, which has considerably increased the need for an understanding of foreign law. Added to this is the large number of new constitutions and new constitutional courts towards the end of the 20th century, which has fuelled comparative law.

Nowadays, one can observe a growing independence of comparative law at universities and research institutions. Comparative courses are now routinely taught, and the number of comparative publications, periodicals, associations, and conferences continues to grow. Constitutional comparison is pursued with different epistemological interests and methods than the academic study of positive law. Both are dedicated to a normative subject. Yet on the one hand, the focus is on the validity and correct interpretation and application of the law in force, and on the other hand on the legal effect and actual practice. In the former, research is conducted with normative intent, in the latter with empirical intent. Accordingly, the legal interpretation dominates in one case, and the legal-sociological analysis in the other.

Comparisons are often still relatively unambitious. There are text comparisons, comparisons of institutions, comparisons of case law, sometimes even comparisons of methods, but often without taking into account the context in which the law unfolds its effect and on what the effect depends. This type of legal comparison is not useless, but it is of limited use. Only the inclusion of the actual application of the law provides in-depth and realistic insights into foreign law and allows conclusions to be drawn about one’s own law. For one’s own law, one may get along to a certain extent without regard to the context, because the contextual knowledge always runs in parallel, often unspoken or even unconsciously. For foreign law, the context must be made explicit. This makes comparative law difficult, but it also makes it rewarding.

A similar situation applies to the theory-led nature of comparative research. It prejudices the view of the object. In the context of this short presentation, there is only time to discuss two major theories. There is comparative law based on the assumption that public law (like law in general) enjoys relative autonomy and that legal operations follow a specific legal logic. For others, this is reality-blind idealism. Constitutions are not there for the legitimisation and limitation of rule, but rather serve as hegemonic projects for securing power over time. For this research direction, which sees itself as realistic, jurisprudence is a process that follows criteria deviating from legal standards, because judges, like political or economic actors, are utility maximisers and only retrospectively present their results  as if derived with necessity from the law. Doctrine and method therefore appear as professional ideology. They do not deserve academic attention. This explains the lack of interest shown by many comparative lawyers in the process of interpreting and applying the law. Although this perspective is widespread in the USA, it has not yet gained prevalence in Europe.


When I finally turn to the question of how this development is reflected in the Max Planck Institute, I rely on the one hand on impressions that are not based on my own research, and on the other hand on information that I have gathered from Felix Lange’s research. According to this, international law dominated the period between the founding of the Institute and the end of the war. This was in line with the Institute’s founding motives of strengthening the German Reich’s position on international law in the post-war period, which was characterised by the Treaty of Versailles. Even after its re-establishment in the year the Federal Republic of Germany was founded, international law was initially prioritised despite the changed conditions. The practical relevance of the research was obvious. The methods corresponded with this. In contrast to a more philosophical-historical approach to the subject matter, which prevailed elsewhere, the approach was of a legal nature. For a long time, newer questions and theoretical approaches had no real prospect.

The impact of the Institute was, however, considerable. You could find habilitation graduates from the MPI in international law departments all over Germany. The MPI was particularly important for the protection of European human rights because two of its directors were judges at the ECHR, Hermann Mosler from 1959 to 1981 and Rudolf Bernhardt from 1981 to 1998, who eventually became its president. Another director, Jochen A. Frowein, was a member of the European Commission of Human Rights from 1973 to 1993, which operated as first instance until the reform of 1999. Georg Ress, who served as an ECtHR judge from 1998 to 2004 and had previously been a member of the Commission, had also emerged from the MPI.

The Institute did not cover German constitutional law, but it did cover foreign public law from the very beginning. Nevertheless, it was only from the end of the 1950s onwards that comparative law became more prominent, particularly through broad-based comparative colloquia, some of which were documented in extensive publications. Many, however, give the impression of an additive rather than integrative comparison. Nevertheless, the Institute was particularly influential when it came to providing expertise on the public law of foreign states. However, this expertise was not inherently comparative. In this respect, 2002 marked a turning point in the Institute’s history. For the first time, a director was appointed whose focus of interest was not international law, but rather European law and comparative public law, with recognisable theoretical ambitions that were primarily aimed at explaining public law under conditions of internationalisation and globalisation. As a result, the international influence of the MPI increased once again.

Translation from the German original: Áine Fellenz

[1] Photo: Dieter Grimm.

On the very Idea of Transnational Constitutional Law

Both an international human rights regime, such as the European Convention system, and supranational Union law have given rise to what I would like to characterize as transnational constitutional law, narrowly and properly understood. In contrast to the more sweeping use of this concept that refers to all legal phenomena having some cross-border dimension, transnational constitutional law, narrowly and properly understood, denotes law that originates from convergence that is neither truly customary nor conventional in nature. It is constitutional law as to its substantive impact, for it amends, or at least claims to amend, existing constitutional law in either the domestic or the supranational sphere.

Following Cassese’s apt characterization of common constitutional traditions, transnational constitutional law represents “higher law made of lower law”. In the case of human rights law, we encounter this in various assertions on the part of the ECtHRs that there exists or has emerged “consensus” among the participating states. This consensus affects the unyielding scope of fundamental rights and therefore alters, restricts, or even eradicates the “margin of appreciation”. In the context of EU law, by contrast, transnational constitutional law speaks to us mostly in the form of “common constitutional traditions”. The scope of these traditions is, of course, an open question. Given that an appeal to them has played an important role in fundamental rights law, it may make sense to restrict them to this field. At the same time, at least the wording of Article 6(3) TEU suggests that fundamental rights may merely be one manifestation of this source and that they may well be of relevance to other general principles of EU law, too. It is a different matter, which I nonetheless would still like to address briefly, whether Article 2 TEU is also a manifestation of transnational constitutional law, for it can be read in at least two different ways. The first suggests that the values expressed in Article 2 are the Union’s values regardless of whether they are in fact shared by the Member States. Article 2 demands, however, that they be common to all Member States. Alternatively, according to a second reading, the values are contributions made by the liberal democracies constituting the Union and can thus be regarded as a commitment that they also have in common outside of it. This path-dependence would imply that their meaning and significance has to be determined with an eye to what the Member States endorse in their constitutional traditions. The values of Article 2 would thus also represent “higher law, made of lower law”, whereas “higher” in this case means supranational law. But even if one followed the first reading, according to which the values in Article 2 are “autonomous” Union law, the fact that Article 2 states that they are also shared suggests that their substance is best fleshed out, as a matter of interpretation, with an eye to what Member States practice in the name of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. It must therefore remain essential, from the Union’s perspective, that the Member States converge on a certain minimum level. Otherwise, the common values would be cast asunder or diluted to a level at which they became entirely hollow. Even Ziobro’s system would then pass muster as a system of judical independence.

If transnational constitutional law in this narrow and proper understanding is higher law made of lower law, then what is puzzling about it is how lower law can attain such a jurigenerative power. Two conditions appear to be salient in this context. The first condition is convergence. In the case of “consensus”, what is of relevance is national legislation that is seen to lend expression to what the participating states regard as demanded by, or at least consistent with, convention rights. In the case of “common constitutional traditions” it is national constitutional law that gives rise—somehow—to supranational law. The “somehow” of its origin points to the second condition. Transnational constitutional law requires a court to recognize its existence. It would not be relevant without such recognition.

In both its international and supranational instantiations, transnational constitutional law is tarnished with a high degree of indeterminacy. It concerns the number of converging states required to give rise to constitutional amendments as well as the substance of the amended norms. For this reason, any assertion of transnational constitutional law by an adjudicating body must raise the specter of an encroachment from above. This explains why transnational constitutional law is surrounded by a ring of contestability.

The objections that can be relevantly made vis-à-vis assertions of its existence are different from the protests voiced by objectors who merely assert their persistent lack of consent to an alleged rule of customary law. The objections have to be grounded in more than mere freedom of choice, as it were, which means that withholding consent alone is not sufficient to undergird doubts concerning its existence.

More precisely, these grounds can be either internal or external.

They are internal when courts (or even scholars) located in national jurisdictions—usually constitutional courts—challenge the facts necessary for the existence of consensus or communality. They inveigh against the application of conditions that, at the end of the day, remain more or less indeterminate in any event. But they claim to apply the same murky assertability conditions, however, they claim to do so with greater accuracy than the international tribunal.

The contestation is external when it does not submit the finding of a consensus to an internal critique, but when it rejects a rule or a principle on the grounds of being incompatible with non-negotiable elements of the national constitutional system (its “essentials” or “identity”).

A classical instance of an internal contestation in the human rights context is the Hirst case, in which UK representatives objected to the assertion of consensus. In the same context, external challenges, subtly and suitably articulated by the Federal Constitutional Court, can range from the demand that compliance with international human rights jurisprudence may require careful adjustments all the way down to appeals to unyielding national constitutional identity. The Russian, when Russia was still a member of the Council of Europe, and Eastern European Courts have become champions of such “principled resistance”.

In the context of EU law, internal contestation concerns, again, alleged flaws in the assertion of a constitutional traditions. The Mangold case comes to mind. The anticipation or external contestation is epitomized possibly by the Omega Spielhallen case in which the European Court of Justice all of a sudden appropriated human dignity for Union law in order to avoid the impending collision with the German constitutional system.

Remarkably, however, the Union system repeats itself, in the case of common constitutional traditions, on its more general features, which is also relevant outside an assertion of transnational constitutional law. Namely, that it exists de facto under Solange or controlimiti conditions. The authority of the Union is, despite being founded on international agreements, subject to conditional yielding. This is true not only in the realm of fundamental rights, but also of supranational authority in general, not least with an eye to identity challenges. If I am not mistaken, the European Court of Justice has not yet been amenable to such challenges (we have Simmenthal, after all).

As a result, any assertion of transnational constitutional law has to face up to two countervailing principles. One is the principle of contestability. This principle is indispensable, for if not, the inter- or supranational court would be free to assert what it wants. It would otherwise by subterfuge acquire sovereign authority. The other principle is that of conditional yielding. If this latter principle becomes generalized—as was done over the last few years at this institute with the development of reverse and horizontal Solange—it gives effect to a mutual pledge to sustain liberal democracies in Europe. This, at any rate, is the new story that can be told about European integration in the wake of what von Bodgandy calls the “second saddle period” of European integration.

Transnational constitutional law is vertical. It is asserted from “above” and seeks to constrain those located below. Owing to contestability and its cognate principle of conditional yielding, however, the horizontal dimension is never fully absorbed. Rather, it can be activated in a pluralist context, that is, in a context where there is no final authority to assert what is right for all. All assertions of that kind remain system-relative. Collisions require dialogue and compromise for their resolution, and this may well involve a protracted process of adjudication in the spirit of comity. At the end of the day, Europe’s constitution is political, in the sense articulated by John Griffith. The constitution is “what happens”. Europe’s constitution is in and of itself historical.

Today, I have given you an introduction to the topic. I am confident, however, that exploring the form of this type of law would provide us with valuable insights into the pluralism of European Union law.

Being a Trespasser

Disciplinary Entanglements, Collective Reflections

One of the major developments of public law scholarship in the last half century has been the enlargement of the study of public law, from studying the law to studying also the various approaches to the law and their changes over time.

This is a process of self-consciousness comparable to the revolution produced by the publication, in the second half of the Sixteenth century, of the “Essais” by Michel de Montaigne, because now lawyers study not only law, but also legal scholarship (that is how lawyers study law). This development has introduced a new canon in the legal culture.

For this reason, a collective reflection on the history of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law is particularly important and useful, if we succeed in situating this reflection in the larger  framework of the history of legal thought in the area of public law.

Disciplinary entanglements among public international law, European public law, and comparative public law (but also between public law and private law) progress in time as the product of a double development, one at the level of the legal change, the other in the scholarly dimension. The first is the erosion of state power, the second the crisis of the positivistic approach to science and to legal scholarship. Both phenomena have prompted a set of transformative developments in the field of public law.

Five new Developments

A first development is the blurring of the frontiers between the national dimension of the law and the foreign and supranational dimension. As in the XVI and XVII centuries national European courts, the “lex alius loci” (the law of another country) becomes relevant[1].

Article 6(3) TEU provides that: “[f]undamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, shall constitute general principles of the Union’s law.”[2] A similar clause is found in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), Article 340. The reference to the legal orders of the Member States of the European Union as sources of Union law is reiterated in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, albeit with different wording (first “principles” and later “traditions”: Article 41(3) and Article 52(4)).

These provisions introduce an entirely new manner of lawmaking. The first is that the higher law is made up of the lower law, through a process of absorption. Therefore, in the area of fundamental rights, the “general principles” of European law are the result of a complex “two-way” process, because they first proceed from the bottom up, and then from the top down. The higher law can derive from lower law; the “general principles” do not drop down from the top. This process launches a “dialogue” between the two levels of government, and is proof of their reciprocal openness. “The inclusion of Member States’ law in the concept of European law” produces a “European conglomerate of legal norms of different legal orders”[3].

The second peculiarity is that this vertical two-way procedure also requires a horizontal, comparative process, because the commonalities must be discovered through a comparison of traditions. Comparison becomes a part of the norm-setting procedure. However, at the same time, this use of comparison has an impact on the identity of this branch of legal scholarship, which thus becomes an instrument to develop concepts and institutions that transcend individual national legal orders. Comparative law replaces legal comparison and to some extent can be considered as binding law[4].

A second development is the blurring of the borders between public and private law. To overcome the different national approaches to the public/private law divide, European law has introduced the notion of “body governed by public law” “established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest, not having any industrial or commercial character”[5]. This new notion crosses the public/private  law divide, is based on substantial and not formal elements, goes beyond the national dividing lines of private and public law.

A third development is the rediscovery of the role of legal scholarship as a major element of the legal order: culture and epistemic communities become a part of the study of law as they have an impact on the legal order through system building and interpretation. Therefore, it is vital to study the historical developments of legal scholarship as a part of the legal systems at the national and at the supranational level, taking into account the divergent legal approaches and crossing borders between States, disciplines and the public and private divide.

A fourth development is the overcoming of the traditional border between the legal space and the non legal (political, social) dimension. Thanks to this development, it becomes possible to study and understand the reciprocal influences of scientific management and Taylorism, on  one side, and the regulation of administrative procedure by judges and legislators, on another side. This convergence of learning overcomes fragmentation of science and encourages integration of points of view and cultures that were separated: the life of law is not only norms and judgments, not only legal orders and systems, not only legal concepts, but also history, culture, “mentalité”, and our task is to reassemble what has been divided in the last two centuries.

A fifth development is the recognition that foreign, transnational, supranational, and global law are not only an object of scientific analysis by national scholars belonging to a different legal system, but also “goods” or “merchandises” imported from the outside into a different legal order, that have effect due to their normative or quasi–normative role both in the original system and in the importing country. This is because legal systems are open or porous (treaties and agreements abolish barriers to money transfers and to trade; and money and trade are instrumental to the transplant of legal institutions); there are some characteristics, institutions, procedures, rules, practices, common to more than one national legal system; legislators get “inspiration” from comparison, and, therefore, they have to adjust national legal systems to the prevailing institutions in the most developed nations; national courts, for their part, establish links with foreign legal orders via comparison; legal scholarship is not bound to a nationalistic approach, and comparative law experts may not only study, but also suggest or advise, on the basis of comparison; comparison is not a pure intellectual effort to know each other; it assumes a practical function; as a consequence, legal scholarship can proceed from legal comparison (“Rechtsvergleichung”) to true comparative law; comparative lawyers establish a transnational legal discourse and act as “merchants of law”; finally, comparison becomes a “source of law”, with donor countries and receptor countries (that in some cases improve the model and become donors for other countries)[6].

Looking to the Future

Due to these developments, public law has changed and is changing. Three important aspects of this change are: the overcoming of the national limitation of law, the transdisciplinary opening of the splendid isolation of the legal method, and the modifications of the grammar of law (and its traditional conceptual grounding in Roman law).

Today’s imperative is to abandon exclusive legal nationalism. This does not mean not cultivating national law, but recognizing its necessary interdependence with other national laws, regional legal orders, and universal principles.

The second imperative is to build bridges between law, the “humanities” and the “social sciences”, because law is a social science. This does not mean to abandon the “legal method”, but to integrate it with other disciplines.

The third imperative is the construction of a more comprehensive language and grammar. The vehicular language is now English, spoken by a billion and a half inhabitants of the earth. The grammar is that developed by the various branches of the science of law almost everywhere in the world.

In its centennial history, the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law has become an innovative and attractive forum and center of the world’s epistemic community in public law. The combination of open-mindedness, richness of seminars and discussion, efficiency, and continuity attracts the best scholars in the field, junior and senior, a combination that has produced some of the best comparative pieces in the field of public and international law.

One can only hope that the Institute will continue along its well established traditions. One can expect and hope that in the future it will also combine researches on the State with the study of non-State actors and indirect rule, and match the study of legal doctrine and theory with a problem-oriented approach, open to non-legal methodologies.

As side by side to the State-pyramid have developed the State-network, and recently the State-archipelago, while the borders between internal and external public law become blurred, and the State is flanked by non-State supranational and global actors, attention must be given also to these new bodies.

Legal institutions and processes do not live in a vacuum, their study cannot proceed without taking into account political, sociological, cultural aspects. Therefore, while being using the tools of the trade, possessing full mastery of the legal techniques, perfect command of the principles, lawyers assembling at the Institute should also strive for a more open study of law.

 My final conclusion is an invitation: cross borders, be a trespasser, go “beyond the State, beyond the West, beyond the law”[7]!

A comprehensive version of this article will be published in the Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht.

[1] Gino Gorla, I tribunali supremi degli Stati italiani, fra i secoli XVI e XIX, quali fattori di unificazione del diritto nello Stato e della sua uniformazione fra Stati, in: Bruno Paradisi (ed.), La formazione storica del diritto moderno in Europa, Firenze: Olschki 1977, 447 ff.

[2] On the origins of the general principles of EC law, see Paul Craig, UK, EU and Global Administrative Law. Challenges and Foundations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015, 323.

[3] Armin von Bogdandy, The Current Situation of European Jurisprudence in the light of Schmitt’s Homonymous Textunpublished paper, 15.

[4] I have developed these points in: Sabino Cassese, Ruling from below: common constitutional traditions and their role, N.Y.U. Environmental Law Journal 39 (2021), 591-618. On the methodologies of comparison, see Ran Hirschl, Comparative Methodologies, in: Roger Masterman/Robert Schütze (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Comparative Constitutional Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2019, 11 ff.

[5] Art. 1 directive 18 of 2004; see also CJEU, Gemeente Arnhem and Gemeente Rheden v BFI Holding BV, Judgement of 10 November 1998, case no. C-360/96, ECLI:EU:C:1998:525.

[6] I have made these points in: Sabino Cassese, Beyond Legal Comparison, in: Annuario di diritto comparato e di studi legislative, Napoli: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane 2012, 387-395.

[7] This is a synthesis made by Tommaso Amico di Meane, Sulle spalle dei giganti? La questione metodologica del diritto comparato e il suo racconto, Napoli: Editoriale scientifica 2022, 336.

Der Weg in die Europäische Union

Accession to the European Union


Ein zeitloses Gutachten Hermann Moslers

Am 4. Oktober 1955 wandte sich Frits de Nerée tot Babberich an MPIL-Direktor Hermann Mosler mit einer Anfrage um ein Gutachten. Der Generalsekretär der Gemeinsamen Versammlung der Europäischen Gemeinschaft für Kohle und Stahl (EGKS), Vorgängerin des Europäischen Parlamentes, war von dessen Ausschuss für politische Angelegenheiten und Außenbeziehungen beauftragt worden, Materialien zu der Fragestellung des Beitritts dritter Staaten zur EGKS zu sammeln.

Die Montanunion steht für Deutschlands Reintegration in die europäische Ordnung nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Das Gutachten zum Beitritt dritter Staaten zur EGKS ist von ähnlicher Bedeutung für die europäische Integration des Max-Planck-Instituts für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht. Gutachten des Instituts waren seit dessen Neugründung 1949 vor allem durch deutsche Ministerien angefragt worden. 1955 aber gingen gleich zwei Anfragen von Seiten der Montanunion ein. Diese Gutachten sind Ausdruck der Öffnung des Instituts jenseits deutscher Grenzen.

Diese Öffnung ist eng verbunden mit der Person Hermann Moslers. Das ist kein Zufall. Der 1955 43 Jahre alte deutsche Völkerrechtler war in den Anfangsjahren des Auswärtigen Amtes zuständig für die Rechtsabteilung und in dieser Funktion eingebunden in die Ausarbeitung des Schuman-Plans.[1] Von 1954 an führte Hermann Mosler das Max-Planck-Institut 26 Jahre und war entscheidend für den neuen Fokus der Forschungseinrichtung.[2] Bis Kriegsende war im Institut das Völkerrecht vor allem zur Beantwortung von Fragen herangezogen worden, die Deutschland betrafen. Mit Mosler weitete sich der Blick auf internationale Organisationen, internationale Beziehungen und die sich entwickelnde europäische Integration.

Dass Mosler auf internationalem Parkett als unbelasteter Verhandlungspartner wahrgenommen wurde, kann auch durch die persönliche Geschichte de Nerées verdeutlicht werden. Zwischen 1942 und 1944 war der Politiker von den deutschen Besatzern als eine von 1400 niederländischen Geiseln im Lager St. Michielsgestel als Faustpfand zur Verhinderung von Attentaten durch Widerstandsbewegungen gefangen gehalten worden.[3] Trotz dieser einschneidenden Erfahrung wandte sich der Niederländer 1955 an den prominenten deutschen Völkerrechtler, nicht um den deutschen Standpunkt abzufragen, sondern um ein europäisches Gutachten zu erhalten zu einer zeitlos aktuellen Frage.

De Nerée 1950 in Amsterdam[4]

Denn Erweiterung ist fast 70 Jahre später weiterhin ein Thema. Immer noch wollen Staaten der Europäischen Union beitreten. Geändert hat sich allerdings die Haltung der Mitgliedstaaten. In den Anfängen wurde die Offenheit der Gemeinschaft unterstrichen, worauf sowohl Mosler im Gutachten als auch de Nerée im Schriftverkehr hinweisen, um die Angst vor der „Bildung eines wirtschaftlichen Machtblocks zu zerstreuen“ (S. 6 des Gutachten Moslers; alle weiteren Seitenangaben beziehen sich auf das Gutachten). Heute bestimmen die Grenzen der Erweiterung und neue Beitrittsbedingungen die Diskussion. So sieht Art 49 EUV, der den Beitritt zur EU regelt, mittlerweile auch politische Kriterien vor für einen Beitritt. Als de Nerée das Beitritts-Gutachten bei Mosler anfragte, waren die Fragen noch viel allgemeiner: Wie sollte die wirtschaftliche Eingliederung neuer Mitgliedstaaten in die Montanunion erfolgen? Wie ein Beitritt in eine so stark integrierte Gemeinschaft, wie es die Montanunion für damalige Verhältnisse bereits 1955 war? Ähnlich offen war auch die Frage, mit der sich der Gutachter konfrontiert sah: Muss, und wenn ja inwiefern, der EGKS-Vertrag abgeändert werden, um den Beitritt dritter Staaten zur Montanunion zu ermöglichen?

Der zu dem Gutachten überlieferte Schriftverkehr zeigt, dass Hermann Mosler sich zunächst darauf konzentrierte, die Frage zu präzisieren. Dafür nahm er Kontakt zu Marga Klompé auf. Die Niederländerin war eine wichtige Ansprechpartnerin, gehörte sie als als Berichterstatterin dem Ausschuss an, der Generalsekretär de Nerée gebeten hatte, Materialien zu der Beitrittsfrage zusammenzustellen. Marga Klompé, wie ihr Landsmann aus der Grenzregion zu Deutschland stammend, wurde später die erste Ministerin in den Niederlanden. Sie war zudem das erste weibliche Mitglied der Gemeinsamen Versammlung der EGKS.[5]

Marga Klompé (1956)[6]

Der Austausch zwischen Gutachter und Ausschussberichterstatterin führte zur Präzisierung der Frage, ob unterschieden werden müsse zwischen dem Beitritt eines Staates mit Kohle- und Stahlproduktion wie etwa Österreich, oder ohne, wie etwa Dänemark. Da diese Präzisierung noch einiges offenließ, nahm Mosler selbst eine Unterteilung seines Gutachtens in mehrere Unterfragen vor. In einem ersten Schritt erläutert er die Frage, wie ein Beitritt abläuft und damit die rechtliche Bedeutung der Vorgaben zum Beitritt in Art 98 EGKS und den dort vorgesehenen Zuständigkeiten der Organe (S. 5 ff.). In einem weiteren Schritt widmet er sich der Frage der Wirkung des Beitritts auf die Organe. Er prüft, ob im Vertrag Anpassungen vorgenommen werden müssen, da dieser die Besetzung der Organe auf die konkreten Mitglieder zuschneidet. Mosler diskutiert in diesem Zusammenhang die Fragen nach Gleichgewicht und Besetzung von Hoher Behörde, Beratendem Ausschuss (heute Europäischer Wirtschafts- und Sozialausschuss), Rat und Gemeinsamer Versammlung der Gemeinschaft (S. 35 ff.). Der letzte Teil seines Gutachtens beschäftigt sich mit Fragen der Übergangsfristen für den Beitritt, insbesondere mit Blick auf Marktbeitritt, der Anpassungszeiten erforderlich mache (S. 71 ff.).

Auf dem Weg in eine neue Rechtsordnung

Die Argumente, die Hermann Mosler im Gutachten heranzieht, beruhen hauptsächlich auf dem Völkerrecht. Er diskutiert eine analoge Anwendung von Verfahren aus völkerrechtlichen Verträgen. Die Übertragbarkeit von Mechanismen aus anderen Abkommen auf die EU wirkt heute befremdlich. Doch das Gutachten entsteht 1955, also noch vor dem großen nächsten Integrationsschritt, den Römischen Verträgen. Erst diese veranlassen den Europäischen Gerichtshof in seinem Van Gend en Loos-Urteil festzustellen, dass „die Gemeinschaft eine neue Rechtsordnung des Völkerrechts darstellt“.[7] Erst damit beginnt die sui generis-Debatte, der zufolge die Europäische(n) Gemeinschaft(en) etwas ganz Neues darstellen, das nicht nach völkerrechtlichen, sondern eigenen Maßstäben zu beurteilen ist. Heute ist es selbstverständlich, dass zur Auslegung der Verträge EU-Recht mit der entsprechenden vom EuGH entwickelten Methodologie angewandt wird. Dieses Gutachten erinnert daran, dass dies nicht immer so war und eine derartige Entwicklung für die Akteure damals nicht absehbar war. Nicht umsonst gilt das Van Gend en Loos-Urteil als revolutionär. Nichtsdestotrotz ergibt sich schon aus Moslers völkerrechtlich geprägten Überlegungen, dass die Gemeinschaft bereits 1955 so stark integriert war und viel stärker in die Souveränitätsrechte der Mitglieder eingriff als andere völkerrechtliche Verträge, dass Mosler oft keine Parallelen zu anderen Verträgen ziehen konnte und daher eher Abgrenzungen von bestehen Verträgen rechtfertigte. So stellt er im ersten Teil des Gutachtens klar, dass anders als bei UN-Konventionen ein Beitritt durch einfache Notifikation nicht möglich ist (S. 6) und erklärt an anderer Stelle, warum eine Anwendung der Mechanismen des GATT nicht auf die Gemeinschaft übertragbar sei.

Der EGKS-Vertrag vom 18. April 1951[8]

Insgesamt bietet das Gutachten einen guten Einblick in die Anfänge der Europäischen Union. Neben den völkerrechtlichen Grundlagen lässt sich aus dem Gutachten die erste Absicht des europäischen Projekts als deutsch-französisches Friedenprojekt erkennen, das auf der Zusammenlegung von Produktion beider Länder beruht. Die deutliche Privilegierung Deutschlands und Frankreichs im EGKS-Vertrag wirkt sich dementsprechend auf das Gutachten Moslers aus. Insbesondere die Besetzung der Hohen Behörde und die Abstimmungsmehrheiten im Ministerrat beschäftigen Mosler auch unter diesem Aspekt (S. 36 ff.). Interessant ist zum Beispiel, dass die Hohe Behörde aus jeweils einem Mitglied aus den Benelux-Ländern und Italiens, aber aus zweien aus Deutschland und Frankreich besteht. Das neunte Mitglied, der Präsident der Hohen Behörde, wird von den anderen acht bestimmt (Kooptationsverfahren). Diese spezielle Zusammensetzung und ihr Erhalt nehmen viel Raum im Gutachten ein – Überlegungen, die heute auf den ersten Blick keine Rolle mehr spielen. Tatsächlich dreht sich die seit langem diskutierte Verkleinerung der Kommission aber exakt um dieselben Fragen der „Repräsentation“ der Mitgliedstaaten in der Kommission – auch wenn die Kommission eigentlich von den Mitgliedstaaten unabhängig ist.[9]

Die generelle Problematik der Besetzung der Institutionen ist geblieben. Mosler stellte 1955 fest, dass „[k]ein allgemein anwendbares Prinzip festgelegt“ wurde für die Ernennung der Mitglieder der Hohen Behörde und die Zahl der Abgeordneten pro Mitgliedstaat, stattdessen wurden die Zahlen anhand der „Gründungssituation“ bestimmt (S. 53). Damit müssen diese Zahlen bei jedem Beitritt angepasst oder geändert werden. Dies war dann auch bei den ersten Beitritten 1973 der Fall (s. Art 10 ff. der Akte über die Beitrittsbedingungen und die Anpassungen der Verträge[10]) und hat sich bis heute nicht verändert. Die Zahlen werden jedes Mal neu ausgehandelt und für die bestehenden Mitglieder festgelegt. So wurden auch nach dem Austritt des Vereinigten Königreichs aus der EU die Sitze im Europäischen Parlament neu verteilt.[11] Auch die Debatte über die Bildung von Mehrheiten und Blockierungsminderheiten im Rat (im Gutachten auf S. 62 ff. diskutiert) führte noch in Nizza 2001 zu nächtelangen Diskussionen über Stimmgewichtungen.[12]

Sehr aktuell ist das Gutachten von 1955 auch im Hinblick auf die Kompetenzproblematik zwischen Union und Mitgliedstaaten. Mosler stellt in seinem Gutachten klar, dass der Rat (bzw. die von ihm beauftragte Hohe Behörde) bei Beitrittsverhandlungen in Vertretung der Mitgliedstaaten auftritt, und nicht in Vertretung der Gemeinschaft (S. 87). Im Rückblick bleiben viele Überlegungen Hermann Moslers relevant, auch wenn dies damals keineswegs sofort klar war. Denn die Anfrage an den Völkerrechtler fiel in eine Zeit des europäischen Umbruchs.

Moslers Gutachten in Zeiten des Europäischen Umbruchs

Den EGKS-Ausschuss hatte eine begrenzte, aktuelle Frage beschäftigt: Muss der Pariser Vertrag verändert werden? Doch während Hermann Mosler sich dieser Fragestellung widmete, entstand eine neue Dynamik im europäischen Reformprozess. Das im italienischen Messina gegründete intergouvernementale Spaak-Komitee arbeitete weitreichende Reformideen aus für einen ganz neuen Vertrag. Am 14. Mai 1955 forderte die Gemeinsame Versammlung in ihrer Resolution 35 die Außenminister auf, eine oder mehrere Regierungskonferenzen zu beauftragen mit der Ausarbeitung von Vertragsentwürfen, die für die weitere europäische Integration notwendig seien.[13] So wirkte Hermann Moslers Gutachten fast überholt, als kurz nach dessen Abgabe am 12. Januar 1956 im April des Jahres der Spaak-Bericht[14] veröffentlicht wurde – und in der Folge die Arbeiten an zwei neuen europäischen Verträgen, den Römischen Verträgen begannen.[15] Auch die Gemeinsame Versammlung, Moslers Auftraggeber, hatte nach dem Spaak-Bericht zur Ausarbeitung neuer Verträge aufgerufen.[16]

Doch die Römischen Verträge ersetzten den EGKS-Vertrag nicht, sie ergänzten ihn nur. Art. 232 (1) des EWG-Vertrags hält fest: „Dieser Vertrag ändert nicht die Bestimmungen des Vertrags über die Gründung der Europäischen Gemeinschaft für Kohle und Stahl, …“. Damit behielt auch das Gutachten seine Relevanz. 1967 folgte eine weitere, gewichtige europarechtliche Entwicklung: Die Römischen Verträge wurden mit dem Vertrag über die EGKS im Fusionsvertrag zusammengeführt, und die Europäische Gemeinschaft (EG) entstand. Deshalb waren die ersten Beitritte im Jahr 1973 Beitritte zur Europäischen Gemeinschaft. Doch der EGKS-Vertrag bestand bis zu seinem Auslaufen 2002 weiter. Damit blieben die Überlegungen Moslers in seinem Gutachten auch nach den Römischen Verträgen und der Fusion von Bedeutung, weil Beitritte zur EG immer auch einen Beitritt zum EGKS-Vertrag beinhalteten. Zudem entspricht die Beitrittsklausel in Art 237 des EWG-Vertrags weitestgehend der in Art 98 EGKS-Vertrag.

Aber der EWG-Vertrag beschreibt in Art. 237 ein konkreteres Beitrittsverfahren als bis dahin. Absatz 1 ist noch sinngemäß übernommen aus dem EGKS-Vertrag, doch in Absatz 2 formulieren die Mitgliedstaaten Vorgaben und Zuständigkeiten für den Beitritt: „Die Aufnahmebedingungen und die erforderlich werdenden Anpassungen dieses Vertrags werden durch ein Abkommen zwischen den Mitgliedstaaten und dem antragstellenden Staat geregelt. Das Abkommen bedarf der Ratifizierung durch alle Vertragsstaaten gemäß ihren verfassungsrechtlichen Vorschriften.“ Auffallend ist, dass dieser Absatz den Vorschlägen entspricht, die auch Hermann Mosler in seinem Gutachten gemacht hat. Es wird die Zuständigkeit des Rats geklärt, Vertragsanpassungen werden explizit genannt und das Ratifizierungsverfahren wird erläutert. Diese Formulierungen existieren weiter in art. 49 EUV, bis heute. Auch wenn nicht mehr feststellbar ist, wie sehr die Überlegungen des Institutsdirektors die Europäischen Verträge tatsächlich beeinflusst haben: Sicher ist, dass die Vorschriften für einen Beitritt viele andere Vorgaben überlebt haben. Sie werden angewandt, weiter ergänzt und sind damit immer noch in der Diskussion.


Die in diesem Artikel geäußerten Ansichten sind die der Autorin und spiegeln in keiner Weise die Ansichten des Rates der Europäischen Union oder des Europäischen Rates wider.

[1] Jochen Abr. Frowein, Hermann Mosler 70 Jahre, AöR 107 (1982), 630–632 (630).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Frits Groeneveld, Het dubbelgezicht van Michielsgestel, NRC Handelsblad (15.08.1992),   (letzter Aufruf 30.12.2022).


[5] Zu Marga Klompé, Angelika Fliegner in (letzter Aufruf 30.12.2022).


[7] C-26/62, Van Gend en Loos / Administratie der Belastingen, ECLI:EU:C:1963:1, S. 25.


[9] Zur Entwicklung der Anzahl von Kommissaren, s. Neill Nugent, Mark Rhinard (Hrsg.), The European Commission, London: Palgrave Macmillan 2015, S. 97 f.

[10] Akte über die Beitrittsbedingungen und die Anpassungen der Verträge, (letzter Aufruf 31.12.2022).

[11] Neuverteilung der Sitze im Europäischen Parlament nach dem Brexit, EP Pressemitteilung (31.01.2020), (letzter Aufruf 31.12.2022).

[12] Zu den Verhandlungen in Nizza siehe Pierre de Boissieu et al. (Hrsg.), National Leaders and the Making of Europe – Key Episodes in the Life of the European Council, London: John Harper Publishing 2015, Kap. 13.

[13] Résolution 35 de l’Assemblée commune de la CECA (Strasbourg, 14 mai 1955)            , (letzter Aufruf 31.12.2022).

[14] Zum Spaak Bericht: (letzter Aufruf 30.12.2022).

[15] Zur Chronologie der Entwicklungen hin zu den Römischen Verträgen: (letzter Aufruf 31.12.2022).

[16] Résolution 47 de l’Assemblée commune de la CECA (Strasbourg, 11 mai 1956),  (letzter Aufruf 31.12.2022).


A Timeless Legal Opinion by Hermann Mosler

On 4 October 1955, Frits de Nerée tot Babberich approached MPIL Director Hermann Mosler requesting an expert opinion. De Nerée, the Secretary-General of the Common Assembly of the Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Parliament’s predecessor, had been asked by the committee on Political Affairs and External Relations to assemble background information on questions surrounding the accession of third States to the ECSC.

The Coal and Steel Community is symbolic of Germany’s reintegration into the European order after the Second World War. It can be argued that the requested opinion on the accession of third States to the ECSC is of similar importance for the European integration of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.

Since its re-foundation in 1949, expert opinions from the Institute had been commissioned primarily by German ministries. In 1955, however, the Institute received two requests from the ECSC – one of which this contribution aims to discuss. These requests reflect the opening of the Institute beyond Germany – and the welcoming of a German research organisation into a European context.

This opening is closely linked to the person of Hermann Mosler. This is no coincidence. The German international lawyer – 43 years old in 1955 – had been the head of the legal department of West Germany´s Foreign Office in its early years and in this capacity had been involved in the drafting of the Schuman plan.[1] From 1954 on, Mosler headed the Max Planck Institute for 26 years and was instrumental in its new outward focus.[2] Until the end of the war, the Institute had referred to international law primarily in order to answer questions concerning Germany. With Mosler, the focus broadened: the Institute now looked more closely at international organisations and examined international relations and the beginning of European integration.

Hermann Mosler was perceived as an unencumbered partner on the international stage and Frits De Nerée’s personal history can serve to illustrate this. Between 1942 and 1944, the Dutch politician had been held by the German occupiers as one of 1400 Dutch hostages in the St. Michielsgestel camp as a bargaining chip to prevent assassinations by the Dutch resistance.[3] Despite this drastic experience, the Dutchman turned to the prominent German international lawyer in 1955 – not to enquire about the German perspective, but to obtain a European expert opinion on a timeless issue.

De Nerée 1950 in Amsterdam[4]

The enlargement of the then ECSC and now the European Union is still a hotly debated issue almost 70 years later. Countries still want to join the European Union. However, the attitude of the EU Member States towards enlargement has changed since. In the early days, it was important to emphasise the Community’s openness in order to allay fears of “the formation of an economic bloc” (p. 6 of Mosler’s expert opinion, tr. LB; all further page references are to Mosler’s opinion). Mosler´s opinion and his correspondence with de Nerée are good examples for this approach.

Today, it is the EU’s enlargement capacity and new accession criteria that dominate the discussion. Article 49 TEU, which regulates accession, now also provides political criteria for accession. At the time when the Secretary General of the Common Assembly of the Coal and Steel Community requested the legal opinion on accession from the Head of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, the questions were much more general: how should new Member States be integrated economically? How would accession be possible to a community as strongly integrated as the ECSC already was by 1955 standards? Similarly open was the question of whether the ECSC Treaty needed to be amended to allow the accession of third States, and if so, to what extent.

Hermann Mosler concentrated his efforts on clarifying these questions, as the correspondence concerning the commissioned report shows. To do so, he contacted Marga Klompé, the rapporteur on the Common Assembly committee which had asked de Nerée to compile materials on the accession question. Marga Klompé, the first female member of the ECSC Common Assembly, came from the region on the Dutch-German border, like her compatriot de Nerée.[5]

Marga Klompé (1956)[6]

The exchange between Mosler and Klompé helped clarify that the expert opinion should also address the question whether it was necessary to distinguish the accession of third states with a coal and steel production (such as Austria) from that of states without such production (such as Denmark). Hermann Mosler further divided his report into several sub-sections discussing accession conditions and logistics. First, he examined the legal requirements for accession and the competences of the institutions as set out in Art. 98 of the Treaty of Paris establishing the ECSC (p. 5 ff.). Then he addressed the question of the effect of accession on the institutions. He assessed whether Treaty changes would be necessary since the Treaty tailored the institutions’ composition to the existing Member States. In this context Mosler discussed questions of balance and staffing of the High Authority (now the Commission), the Consultative Committee (now the European Economic and Social Committee), the Council, and the Common Assembly of the Community (p. 35 ff.). The last part of his report dealt with questions of transitional periods for accession, especially with regard to market entry (p. 71 ff.).

On the Way to a New Legal Order

In his expert opinion, Hermann Mosler relied on international law to support his arguments. He discussed an analogous application of procedures from other international treaties. Today, the transfer of mechanisms from international agreements to the EU seems odd. But the opinion dates from 1955, from before the next major step towards European integration which were the Rome Treaties in 1957. It was this next codification that prompted the European Court of Justice to declare in its Van Gend en Loos judgement that “the Community constitutes a new legal order of international law”[7]. Only then was the sui generis theory really launched, according to which the European Community(ies) represent an entirely new entity not to be appraised according to international law, but according to its own standards. Today, it is self-evident that the EU Treaties are to be interpreted using the methodology specific to EU law, as developed and monitored by the ECJ. Hermann Mosler’s legal opinion, however, reminds us that this has not always been a matter of course and that such a development was not necessarily foreseeable at the time. It is with good reason that the Van Gend en Loos judgement is considered revolutionary. Nevertheless, Mosler’s reflections indicate the high degree of integration of the ECSC at the time and the extent to which Member State sovereignty was affected. The German lawyer was often unable to draw parallels with other treaties under international law, he rather pointed out and justified distinctions from them in his opinion, as when he wrote that unlike for UN conventions, accession by simple notification is not possible (p. 6) and the mechanisms of the GATT are not transferable to the ECSC.

The Treaty of Paris establishing the ECSC, 18 April 1951[8]

Overall, Mosler’s report offers a good insight into the beginnings of what is today the European Union. In addition to the EU’s international law foundation, the legal opinion reveals the initial intention of the European project as a Franco-German peace project based on the pooling of production necessary for war. The fact that the ECSC Treaty clearly privileges France and Germany over the other Member States is also reflected in the report and informs Mosler’s examination of the composition of the High Authority and the voting majorities in the Council (p. 36 ff.). At the time, the High Authority consisted of one member each from the Benelux and Italy and two each from France and Germany. The President of the High Authority was appointed by the other eight members (co-optation procedure). The discussion of this specific composition and its preservation after the accession of new members takes up quite some space in the report – considerations which at first glance seem irrelevant today. However, in reality the issue of the size of the Commission is still very much alive today and revolves around the very same question of Member State representation – despite the fact that the Commission is actually independent of the Member States.[9]

In general, it can be said that the issue of appointments to the institutions remains to this day. Hermann Mosler noted in 1955 that “no generally applicable principle has been laid down” for the appointment of High Authority members and the members of deputies to the Assembly – instead the numbers were determined based on the situation at the founding of the ECSC (p. 53; tr. LB) meaning they would need to be adjusted with each accession. This was then the case for the first accessions in 1973 (see Art. 10 of the Act concerning the Conditions of Accession[10]) and it is still the case today when new members join. The same applied when the United Kingdom left the EU: the seats in the European Parliament were scraped or redistributed; [11] and the Commission was reduced to 27 Commissioners. The discussion of the formation of majorities and blocking minorities in the Council which occupied Mosler (p. 62 ff.) were also the object of night-long discussions as late as 2001 in Nice.[12]

Another issue where the 1955 report is still very topical is that of competence division between the EU and the Member States. For example, Mosler emphasises that the Council acts in representation of the Member States, and not the Community, during accession negotiations (p. 87).

In retrospect, many of Hermann Mosler’s considerations remain relevant, even if this was by no means immediately obvious as the request came at a time of European upheaval.

Mosler‘s legal opinion in times of European upheaval

The ECSC Assembly Committee had been preoccupied with a limited question: does the Paris Treaty need to be changed to allow for accession of third States? But as the German international law scholar Mosler started addressing this question, a new dynamic in the European integration process emerged. The intergovernmental Spaak Committee, founded in Messina, Italy, was working out far-reaching reform ideas for a completely new treaty. On 14 May 1955, the Common Assembly in its Resolution 35 called on the Member States’ foreign ministers in the Council to commission one or multiple intergovernmental conferences to draw up draft treaties necessary to allow for further European integration.[13] After the publication of the Spaak Report in April 1956, work started almost immediately on two new European treaties: the Treaties of Rome.[14] The Joint Assembly, which commissioned Mosler’s report, had also called for the drafting of new treaties after the publication of the Spaak Report.[15] Hermann Mosler’s report to Frits de Nerée had been submitted only three months earlier, on 12 January 1956. With the Spaak report out, it suddenly seemed almost outdated.

In the end, the Rome Treaties did not replace the ECSC Treaty, but rather supplemented it. Art. 232 (1) of the EEC Treaty states: “The provisions of this Treaty shall not affect the provisions of the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, …”. They were finally brought together when the Rome Treaties were merged with the ECSC Treaty in the Merger Treaty, and the European Community (EC) was born. The first accessions in 1973 were therefore accessions to the EC. But as the ECSC Treaty continued to exist until 2002 within the Merger Treaty, Hermann Mosler’s 1955 legal opinion on accessions under the ECSC Treaty remained relevant: accessions to the EC always included accession to the ECSC. Moreover, the accession clause in Art. 237 EEC Treaty largely corresponded to that in Art. 98 of the ECSC Treaty.

Since Mosler’s opinion, however, the actual accession of new Member States has made it necessary to clarify the original provision. Art. 237 of the EEC Treaty therefore describes a more concrete accession procedure. Its first paragraph corresponds to the provision in the ECSC Treaty, but its second paragraph formulates requirements for accession and clarifies competences: “The conditions of admission and the amendments to this Treaty necessitated thereby shall be the subject of an agreement between the Member States and the applicant State. Such agreement shall be submitted to all the contracting States for ratification in accordance with their respective constitutional rules.” It is striking that this paragraph also corresponds to the proposals made by Hermann Mosler. The competence of the Council is settled, Treaty adaptations are explicitly mentioned, and the ratification procedure is explained. These formulations continue to exist in Art. 49 TEU. Even though it is no longer possible to determine how much Mosler’s legal opinion truly influenced the European Treaties, it is certain that the provisions the German legal scholar suggested in 1955 for accession have outlived many other provisions. They are being applied, specified, and supplemented – and continue to be discussed today.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s and in no way reflect the views of the Council of the European Union or the European Council.

[1] Jochen Abr. Frowein, ‘Hermann Mosler 70 Jahre‘, AöR 107 (1982), 630–32 (630).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Frits Groeneveld, ‘Het dubbelgezicht van Michielsgestel’, NRC Handelsblad (15.08.1992), (last consulted on 19.10.2023).

[4] (last consulted 19.10.2023).

[5] On Marga Klompé, cf. Angelika Fliegner in (last consulted 19.10.2023).

[6],_dr._Marga_A._M._-_SFA002001927.jpg (last consulted 19.10.2023).

[7] C-26/62, Van Gend en Loos / Administratie der Belastingen, ECLI:EU:C:1963:1, 12.

[8] (last consulted 19.10.2023).

[9] On the development of the number of Commissioners, cf. Neill Nugent and Mark Rhinard (eds), The European Commission (London: Palgrave Macmillan 2015), 97 f.

[10] Act concerning the Conditions of Accession and the Adjustments to the Treaties, (last consulted 19.10.2023).

[11] Redistribution of seats in the European Parliament after Brexit, EP Press release (31.01.2020), (last consulted 19.10.2023).

[12] On the negotiations in Nice, cf. Pierre de Boissieu et al. (eds), National Leaders and the Making of Europe – Key Episodes in the Life of the European Council (London: John Harper Publishing 2015), Ch. 13.

[13] Résolution 35 de l’Assemblée commune de la CECA (Strasbourg, 14 mai 1955)            , (last consulted 19.10.2023).

[14] For the chronology of developments towards the Rome Treaties, see (last consulted 19.10.2023).

[15] Résolution 47 de l’Assemblée commune de la CECA (Strasbourg, 11 mai 1956),  (last consulted 19.10.2023).