Books Developments in PIL Scholarship

Rizcallah on The Principle of Mutual Trust in EU Law

Cecilia Rizcallah (ULB & University of Saint-Louis, Belgium) has just published a monograph on the principle of mutual trust in EU Law, based on her doctoral thesis: Le principe de confiance mutuelle en droit de l’Union européenne – Un principe essentiel à l’épreuve d’une crise de valeur, Bruylant, 2020.

The author has provided the following abstract in English.

The legal structure of the European Union “is based on the fundamental premiss that each Member State shares with all the other Member States, and recognises that they share with it, a set of common values on which the Union is founded, as stated in Article 2 TEU”, states the Court of Justice of the European Union. Among these common values, fundamental rights, the rule of law and democracy occupy a central position. This “premiss”, according to the Court, “implies and justifies the existence of mutual trust between the Member States”.

Yet, as we all know, the European Union is currently facing a “crisis of values”. This crisis results from the increasingly frequent questioning, in the European Union, of the values on which it is allegedly based. The semantics of mutual trust between Member States has nevertheless never been more present in official speeches. Like the dictum according to which “we never talk as much about water as in the desert”, should the rise of the discourses on mutual trust be seen as an “excess of vocabulary” symptomatic of the climate of mistrust between Member States?

This question, prompted by the success of the principle of mutual trust at a time when the context reveals fundamental divisions between Member States as to the meaning of European integration and the values on which it is based, is at the heart of this book.

In order to provide some answers, the first part of the book proposes to “clear the ground” and offer a cross-cutting definition of the principle of mutual trust in Union law, which applies both to internal market law and to the law of the Area of freedom, security and justice. It is the presumptive mechanism that seems, in this respect, to offer the best description of the principle under consideration.

The book then analyses the apparently consubstantial link between this principle and the founding values of the Union. Constituting an uncertain foundation and an imperfect limit to mutual trust, the EU founding values have an ambivalent relationship with the principle under consideration.

Finally, this book concludes with a third part which analyses the essential role played by the principle of mutual trust in Union law, at the crossroads of the imperatives of unity, diversity and equality. Because of the risks entailed by this principle regarding EU founding values, the book, however, argues in favour of moving mutual trust from the rank of postulate to that of method.

More details are available here, including a foreword by Eleanor Sharpston (Former Advocate General at Court of Justice of the European Union).

Since mutual trust is of particular interest for EU Private international law experts, Cecilia will soon provide the readers of this blog with a special focus on the principle of mutual trust in the field of EU judicial cooperation in civil matters, based on her doctoral research.

Marion is law professor at Artois University (France)