Volume 45 (2008) / Issue 5
Over the years the European Union and the European Communities have developed political and legal relations with third countries. Yet, legal integration with third countries without their membership in the club is a relatively new phenomenon employed, inter alia, in the relations with the EEA countries, the Swiss confederation and countries of Western Balkans (within the framework of the Energy Community). To reflect the nature of these new frameworks in the field of external relations, the notions of “enhanced multilateralism” and “enhanced bilateralism” are used. Arguably, the shared legal framework has led to the creation of the European Union Legal Space whereby selected pieces of acquis are applicable between the EU and the third countries. This, being a fascinating jigsaw puzzle of legal regimes, may be a source of concern as such forms of integration are capable of undermining the coherence of the EU legal order in the long run. This article looks at these models of integration and makes an attempt to identify the main benefits and risks.
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