EURECO Lecture: "Reinventing the founding myths of Europe"

All legal systems know the concept of a landmark case. The case of the EU is no different in that regard. Two things are nevertheless remarkable. First, grand cases like Van Gend, Costa v ENEL, and Les Verts, stand as European constitutional milestones. They establish, define, limit and legitimate a (quasi)constitutional, sui generis legal system of the EU. Second, they provide Europe with so far the most persistent, simple, and straightforward theory of integration. But what makes certain cases leading cases: is it an instantaneous act by the Court, which once and for all nails down a great legal principle? Or is it rather a protracted process, in which a certain case only gradually gains this symbolic standing?

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