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The European Union’s External Action and International Law: A View From the Outside



Public, Staff, Students, Alumni

Please note that this is a virtual event taking place live via Zoom. If you are interested in attending, please register for the event. Once you register, you will receive automatic email notifications 48 hours and 2 hours before the event with the Zoom invitation. Please also note that this event will be recorded, with the exception of any live audience questions.

The City Law School, International Law and Affairs Group (ILAG) and the ESIL Interest Group on the EU as a Global Actor will host a webinar on ‘The European Union’s External Action and International Law: A View From the Outside’ on 12 June 2020.

The event will be convened by Jed Odermatt, City Law School, and Ramses A. Wessel, University of Groningen.

Workshop Theme

How is the European Union and its external action viewed from the ‘outside’? As the European Union’s external action continues to expand and evolve, this raises ever more questions about how such practice fits within the state-centric system of international law.

Some practices in the EU’s external action have been criticised as examples of ‘European exceptionalism’, in which the EU receives exceptions from its international partners. The use of disconnection clauses in international agreements; the EU’s insistence that the autonomy of the EU legal order be preserved in dispute settlement bodies; the practice of concluding mixed agreements; among others, have raised concerns for the EU’s external partners. In these instances, the EU seeks certain exceptions under international law to take account the EU’s internal law. The EU’s external action has also attracted certain criticism from international lawyers who have pointed to fields of EU action may contravene international law.

While much of this has been considered from the ‘internal’ perspective, especially by EU law experts, there has been less reflection on how the EU and its external action is viewed from the ‘outside’. This event understands ‘outside’ as a broad term to include opinions and approaches from outside the EU geographically, but also in terms of academic discipline. It may also involve critical and non-Western approaches to the understanding the EU’s external action. The event aims to open up the study of the EU’s external action to outside reactions and perspectives.

Participation in this webinar is possible for a limited number of participants. Please register to receive a link (in case you decide not to participate after all, please let us know as soon as possible to allow for your place to be used by someone else).

Concept Paper


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When and where

10.00am - 3.30pmFriday 12th June 2020