The paper represents a continuation of my research on the relationship between European Union external action and international law, published last year on the European Foreign Affairs Review. The aim is to investigate on the coherence of European Union External Action with the principles of public international law and particularly with the protection of the right to self-determination. The case Western Sahara Campaign case opened a Pandora Box on the role of the European Union as international actor. The Court underlined the necessity of interpreting international agreements concluded by the EU with respect to the rules of customary international law and the right to self-determination of people. In the light of the Court’s findings should the EU give priorities to its commercial interests or should prevail the protection of oppressed groups such as the Saharawi people? The Court did not explicitly refer just to UN Charter Article 73, but also to Article 1 which recognizes the right of self-determination to all people. Such a situation could expose EU external trade policies to claims by every group which affirms its right to self-determination. The aim of the paper is to show that the judgment of the Court should have been more pragmatic, specifying within which limits self-determination claims should be taken into account by EU external actions.
Keywords: European Union, international law, coherence, external action, minorities
Andrea Mensi | Bocconi University, Italy
Andrea Mensi is a PhD candidate in international and EU law at Bocconi University in Milan and a former trainee at the European Union External Action Service (EEAS), EU Delegation to the OECD and UNESCO in Paris. Currently, he is working on a PhD thesis on the concept of sovereignty over natural resources in international law under the supervision of prof. Roger O’Keefe (Bocconi) and Ilaria Espa (Bern and Lugano University). He has graduated cum laude in 2015 at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, with a research experience at the University of Western Australia in Perth. Mensi have a four-year experience as research assistant in Italian and Swiss universities in the field of European Union law and I published articles on leading international and Italian reviews. Apart from his experience in the European institutions, he worked for three years in leading law firms on EU law and litigation and as teaching assistant in EU and International law.