Euratom Before the Court: A Political Theory of Legal Non-Integration

Sebastian Wolf


This paper mainly explores how law-based neo-functionalism can contribute to explain the meagre legal development of the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) in the last decades. The neo-functionalist approach developed by Burley (Slaughter) and Mattli in the 1990s expects spill-overs if subnational actors try to overcome national law in order to pursue their interests by means of preliminary proceedings before the European Court of Justice (ECJ). It also assumes political dynamics if the European Commission tries to widen the scope of the EAEC’s and/or its competences by means of actions against member states. By analysing ECJ case law on Euratom, the paper shows that the mechanisms and phenomena highlighted by this particular neo-functionalist approach do not occur in the case of the EAEC. It is concluded that a revised version of law-based neo-functionalism which takes into account context factors such as the interdependence of deregulation and reregulation is likely to have remarkable explanatory power.


Euratom; European Atomic Energy Community; EAEC; nuclear energy; energy policy; neo-functionalism; functionalism; intergovernmentalism; European Court of Justice; ECJ; European Commission; spill-over; regulation; case law; preliminary proceedings

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