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The EU as an Autonomous International Legal Person: Can International Law Address the Eternally Changing Nature of the EU?

Scarlett McArdle

The European Union is a unique entity with its own integrated legal order. It originated as a 'creature of international law' but has consistently sought to move away from being considered as a simple subset of international law. While international law has sought to describe and demarcate the EU as an international organisation, the EU has sought to position itself as a sui generis entity. This paper seeks to locate the EU within the overarching international legal order in light of its expanding activities as an autonomous legal actor. In examining the problematic relationship between these two legal orders, as well as the complex relationship between the EU and its Member States, the paper seeks to briefly identify a broader set of issues that arise in the context of a project on the international legal responsibility of the EU. The paper seeks to highlight some of the issues specific to the EU that may be seen with the current work of the International Law Commission in developing draft articles on the responsibility of international organisations.

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