GoJIL Vol. 9, No. 1 (2018)
The Legal Dimensions of Rule of Law Promotion in EU Foreign Policy: EU Treaty Imperatives and Rule of Law Conditionality in the Foreign Trade and Development Nexus
Till Patrik Holterhus
This article demonstrates that Arts. 21 and 3 (5) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) as well as Arts. 205, 207 (1), 208 (1), 209 (2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), legally oblige the European Union (EU) to promote the rule of law in its foreign trade and development policy. Furthermore, it is shown that, in the context of such promotion, the EU applies not a rudimentary but a sophisticated concept of the rule of law – quite similar to the concept of the rule of law that has developed within the Union. To fulfill the legal obligation to promote the rule of law abroad, the EU employs, as a key instrument, the legal mechanism of conditionality, not only through autonomous instruments but also in its contractual international relationships (carrot-and-stick policy). The EU’s foreign policy in the trade and development nexus, in particular when it comes to the promotion of the rule of law, can, therefore, be considered a process, to a large extent, determined and organized the of law.
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