General principles of integration law as a secret weapon of the CJEU and of the Eurasian Economic Union Court

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Author: Kirill Entin

DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2022-2-64-83

Keywords: general principles of law; Court of Justice of the European Union; Court of the Eurasian Economic Union; proportionality; legal certainty


The formulation by the Court of Justice of the European Union of general principles of EU law is rightly characterized as one of the most symbolic and inspired examples of judicial activism, as it allowed the CJEU not only to complete the inevitable lacunas in the founding treaties, but also to ensure the protection of the rule of law and human rights within the integrated EU. In an analysis of the functions of the general principles of EU law, their origins, and the criteria used by the CJEU to identify them, the author argues in favor of a restrictive reading of the notion of “general principles of EU law”, excluding those principles used to describe the institutional structure of the EU or the specificity of its legal order. An analysis of the EAEU Court’s case law allows the author to reach the conclusion that, while the Court first made use of the term “general principles of the Union’s law” in an advisory opinion on public procurement in 2021, the process of creating its own system of principles started in 2016–2017. This is demonstrated in part by the Court’s systematic referral to the principles of proportionality and legal certainty not only in order to interpret Union law provisions but as separate requirements that allow it to determine whether the Commission decisions and acts of the Member States comply with EAEU law. The author expresses the opinion that the creation of such a legal category is a necessity for courts of integrated unions due to the special nature of integration law, which by its subject is closer to national than to public international law. In this regard the general principles of law of an integrated union allow a link to be maintained with both international law and the constitutional legal orders of their Member States.

About the author: Kirill Entin – Candidate of Sciences (PhD) in Law, Deputy Registrar – Head of the Legal Research and Analysis Department, Minsk, Belarus; Head of the Eurasian Sector of the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Entin K. (2022) Obshchie printsipy prava integratsionnykh ob'edineniy kak taynoe oruzhie Suda ES i Suda EAES [General principles of integration law as a secret weapon of the CJEU and of the Eurasian Economic Union Court]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 64–83. (In Russian).


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