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The law of European integration: the internal dimension and the external dimension

Research project P4/04 (Research action P4)

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This research project pursues two complementary objectives: to study the internal dimension of the European single market and to examine its external implications and effects. Eastward enlargement of the European Union, being at the boundary between these two dimensions, receives special attention. Analysis of the new Amsterdam Treaty falls naturally into this perspective.

In this framework, emphasis is placed on European substantive law, although institutional law cannot be ignored insofar as it constitutes the instrument of European economic integration.

-The internal dimension. Here the focus is essentially on the four fundamental freedoms of the treaty: free movement of goods, services, capital, and persons. Special attention is paid to the free movement of persons, aspects relating to EU nationals (new rights for European citizens, incorporation of Schengen into the first pillar) as well as aspects relating to third countries nationals (asylum policy, visa requirements and the crossing of external borders). The interaction between the evolution of the community legal order and the changes in the European economy are also analysed, especially the relationship between competition law and the public sector (state aids, public undertakings, deregulation and privatisation).

-The external dimension. Here the external economic relations of the European Union constitute the main focus: common commercial policy, legal personality of the Union, representation of the Union in international organisations, common foreign and security policy. Also studied are the external implications of establishing Economic and Monetary Union and the impact of a single currency on the position of the EU in world trade. The enlargement of the European Union is the last theme to be explored, aspects relating to the economics conditions of adhesion as well as aspects relating to institutional questions (improvements to the decision making mechanism in the Community).

The partnership between the ULg, RUG, and ULB involves three teams with acknowledged experience in EU law. Complementarity is excellent between the three research centres, since each one is specialised in one or another aspect of the study of the internal market or its external dimension: relations between the European Union and the Central and Eastern European Countries (RUG), legal aspects of Economic and Monetary Union (ULB), and the study of European economic law in general (ULg).

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