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date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter observes that the law of international organizations poses challenging questions for the doctrine of sources of international law, which was originally developed for a world in which only States were envisaged as subjects of international law. It addresses some of those questions by focusing on the most ‘advanced’ international organization, the European Union (EU). The chapter is organized in two main parts. The first one emphasizes the separate character of the EU’s system of sources, whereas the second part notes the various ways in which that system continues to rely on the traditional sources of international law, particularly on the treaty instrument. Together, these two parts aim to justify the choice of the words ‘semi-autonomous system of sources’ used in the subtitle of the chapter.

Keywords: European Union (EU), General principles of international law, Sources of international law

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