EU in Focus: The Judicial System

When I was younger, my dream job was to be a Supreme Court Justice for the United States. What better way to know my rights than by interpreting them? However, as I began to study the judicial system in the U.S., I started to realize that being a judge was not in my career interests.  Federalism allocates many different issues (including family, civil, criminal, etc.) to a court. My focus lies on a different direction. It is not that the judicial system is complicated, but it does consist of various structures. However, as a student on the pre-law track I know that I will soon have to fully comprehend the way the judicial system functions. While studying abroad, I have developed a strong interest in the political systems of the European Union. I have made it my goal to learn as much as possible and be exposed to as much enriching information as I can. One way I knew I could do this was by attending lectures with intellectual scholars such as Cristina Fasone.

This lecture, held on February 24th, differed from the previous lectures in the La Pietra Dialogues “European Union in Focus” series, which explained what the EU is overall. In this talk, Professor Fasone discussed the intricacies of the judicial system of the EU. Fasone broke apart the judicial system of the EU and explained the separate powers the European Courts have over one another. I was baffled by how complicated this system is overall. However, I was able to understand that one of the reasons why the EU struggles to make efficient collaborative decisions is because it has to deal with issues at an international level.

Each of the EU’s 28 member states participate in the European Court. From each member state there is one judge who represents his or her country. The complications come from inconsistent agreements that can have individual effects on countries that do not wish to change their foreign affair policies, which is why there is hardly ever a unanimous vote. According to Fasone, the judicial system works in a separation of power regime, which means that these judges are given equal powers as long as they do not abuse them. This is relatively different from how the EU legislative system operates because the way power is distributed is not the same. In the legislative structure, the powers amongst member states’ prime ministers and presidents vary depending on the political parties majorities.

As Professor Fasone continued to speak, I compared the EU’s judicial system to the United States’. I looked at how well the U.S. is able to make decisions on international issues, but only because it has to abide by one constitution for one country, whereas the EU has multiple countries with different agendas.

I only continue to grow more interested in the way the EU works and I look forward to more of the EU in Focus series. Being able to learn more about the different aspects of the EU will allow me to enhance my understanding on international politics.

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