The “Internal” External Relations of Emu: On the Legal Framework of the Relationship Of “In” And “Out” States

6 Colum. J. Eur. L. 361 (2000)

Erich Vranes. Assistant at the Research Institute for European Affairs, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration.

The project of building an economic and monetary union in Europe can be regarded as another logical step forward in the process of European integration, yet arguably one of unprecedented import and ambition. This economic and monetary union (EMU) has been characterized as a “normatively-led” community by the German Constitutional Court, as its establishment relies on the conventional “European Community (EC) approach” of norm-oriented economic and policy integration. The same is true for EMU’s relations to the so-called “out” states that have not yet fully joined the final phase (Stage III) of EMU.

The main intent of this paper is to delineate the legal framework governing the relationship of “in” and “out” states and the principles thereof, in other words the “internal” external relations regime of EMU within the European Community (EC). This regime is highly topical not only in light of the Danish referendum of September 28, 2000, in which the Danish people rejected the move to Stage III – a decision that is very likely to have broader political and structural implications for European integration in the foreseeable future – but also given the expectation that pressure for a “two-speed Europe” and reinforced cooperation will begin to increase. The question of a “two-speed Europe” and reinforced cooperation is also bound to become even more important in the context of future EU enlargements, as EU decision-makers and officials are increasingly making clear that few, if any, of the applicant countries will be able to join the Euro at the same time they join the EU. Hence, this monetary regime will remain crucial in tying together the “in” states that are participating in EMU Stage III, and present as well as future “out” states.