Opinion

Europe, a living reality

jóvenes europeos

Europe is today a reality, a common home; it is a future that has arrived and, at the same time, a present in constant change. As Ortega famously said, "Europe is a road and not an inn".  It is a living reality in which we participate directly and which affects us all in many aspects of our daily lives, perhaps without our realizing it, and which is defined to perfection in the Union's motto, which we Spaniards like so much: "Unity in diversity".

Apart from an obvious economic content, in the political order the social and democratic State of law - of European construction - has solid roots and the process went ahead until the Treaty of Lisbon, a manifestation of the principle of continuity, supported by those words of Robert Schuman: "Europe will not be made in a single stroke, but in a joint construction through concrete achievements, creating above all a de facto solidarity". 

But membership of the European Union has meant that all the States have ceded to it the exercise of competences deriving from their respective Constitutions, such as, no more and no less, the production of legal norms which until then had been reserved to each State.
    
We are often unaware of the importance of European law in the development of our daily lives. It is not difficult to see the impact of Community Regulations and Directives in the regulatory texts of the States, as well as in those of the different regions and in areas as relevant as the civil service or administrative procurement.

The reality is that a community of law directly applicable in all the States has been created. It happens that the singularity of the supranational organization consists in the fact that, like the sovereign States, it also creates law addressed sometimes to the Member States and sometimes to the citizens of these States, to the European citizens.

The creation of a new legal system becomes, therefore, the main characteristic of this organization, which has a Court of Justice, whose case law has defended, from the outset, the primacy of European law over that of the Member States, pointing out the existence of its own legal system integrated into each legal system and that this system is binding on the States. This was expressly stated in the famous Costa v. Enel Judgment of July 15, 1964, which examined the conflict between the provisions of a rule of the ECT and an Italian law subsequent to the entry into force of the ECT, in which it was established that, unlike the ordinary international treaties, the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community created its own legal system integrated into the legal system of the Member States from the entry into force of the Treaty and which binds their jurisdictional bodies.

Therefore, the Member States cannot claim that one of their rules, drawn up unilaterally, even if it is subsequent, should prevail over the rules of the European legal system, which they themselves created on the basis of reciprocity.

It can be said that the Community Treaties constitute the Constitutional Charter of the European Union and, as happens with the Constitution in the internal order, they enjoy prevalence over the rest of the European Community Law and are also endowed with a special rigidity because the procedure for their reform is special. 

And the fact is that Community law -European law- unfolds all its effects in a uniform manner in all the Member States, constituting an immediate source of rights and obligations for all those affected, whether they are Member States or individuals. European law and domestic law are considered as autonomous legal systems, although integrated and coordinated, so that European rules are not considered superior to national laws, but as special.
This is the great virtuality of the European Union: economic, political and, of course, legal.