The enquiry into the global reach of EU law requires us to consider the relation between law and EU external policy. In this paper I explore the ways in which, and for what purposes, the EU uses its external relations powers and its wide range of external instruments to extend the reach of EU law. These powers and instruments may be deployed in ways which extend the impact of EU legislation beyond the boundaries of the EU. We may say that the external instruments leverage the power of the EU so that its power to act internally is projected externally. It is as a legal order that the EU relates to the outside world and law establishes the boundary between what is internal and what is external to that legal order: it is not simply a question of the EU using law to project itself externally – choosing a legal tool among others in its toolbox – although this is certainly part of the picture. Rather, it is through law that the EU is able to construct itself as an autonomous and effective international actor. The aim of this paper is to explore the nature of this symbiotic relationship between law and external action. My conclusion will be that the ‘global reach of EU law’ is a natural expression of the EU’s international actorness. If law defines the EU as an international actor, how is this reflected in its international action? What kind of international legal actor is the EU? We will look at three dimensions of the EU’s ‘actorness’ which show three distinct – though overlapping – dynamics to the relationship between law and external action: first, the EU as a Union of values, second, the EU as an integration project, and third, the EU as a regulatory actor.
Marise Cremona has been a Professor in the Law Department of the European University Institute since 2006. She is a co-Director of the Academy of European Law and general editor (with Profs Nehal Bhuta and Claire Kilpatrick) of The Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law, Oxford University Press. Between November 2009 and June 2012 she was Head of the Department of Law at the EUI and between June 2012 and August 2013 she was President ad interim of the EUI. Before joining the EUI she held the Chair of European Commercial Law at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London. She a member of the International Advisory Board of the Centre for European Research, University of Göteborg; member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Lichtenberg-Kolleg Institute for Advanced Study in Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Göttingen; member of the Editorial Board of the Common Market Law Review; member of the Advisory Board of the European Foreign Affairs Review; member of the Editorial Board, Studies in EU External Relations, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers; former member of the Editorial Board of the European Law Review.