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On Friday 9 November Christina Eckes, Professor of European Law and director of the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance, will give her inaugural lecture entitled The Paradox of EU External Relations: Taking Back Control.

Detail Summary
Date 9 November 2018
Time 16:00

To the lecture (Dutch)


The lecture will argue that EU external relations are both key to addressing the public disenchantment with the European integration project and bear the danger of derailing it entirely. It will explain that three power paradoxes inherent in EU external relations explain why European integration is at several levels beneficial for the self-rule of EU citizens in a globalized world but also why it is so difficult make this added value of European integration part of the public debate.

First, Member States confer powers on the EU with the diffuse wish to increase their autonomy in a globalized world, but then regret it. Second, the EU compensates its weakness as a non-state actor under international law by imposing stronger constraints on Member States under EU law. Third, while transferring powers to the EU constrains national governments it increases control of EU citizens over external relations – arguably, beyond the influence that they have as national citizens. Yet citizens experience the constraints on national authorities more strongly than their own increased ability to control EU external actions.

These three power paradoxes make it difficult but crucial for the Union to justify its external powers and actions. It is essential for citizens to realize their ability to take control of EU external relations and the value of European integration for their self-rule in a globalized world. Ultimately, in order to deliver on its objectives and pursue its current course the Union must vindicate that the Union’s autonomy as an international actor is difficult to square with preserving a significant international role for Member States unilaterally.


The inaugural lecture will take place at 16:00 in the Aula of the University of Amsterdam and is open to the public.

Aula - Oude Lutherse kerk
Aula - Oude Lutherse kerk

Singel 411
1012 XM Amsterdam