Introduction: The active paradigm of the study of the EU’s place in the world
The active paradigm to study the EU’s engagement with the world. This book zooms in on the EU’s active engagement with the international legal order. It aims at analysing how the EU shapes its environment and creates rules and practices for the world, reshaping - or at least attempting to reshape - international law. The book does more than simply visiting a range of essential fields of the EU’s engagement. It offers an ethical perspective on the Union’s actions, shedding light on some underlying motivations, which are at times more complex than the official documents would suggest. This collection advocates what we refer to as an ‘active paradigm’ of the study of the EU in the international legal context, approaching the Union as an active co-creator of the international legal order, as opposed to emphasizing the perspective of the reception of international law in the EU, the latter’s legal interconnectedness with the rest of the world, its role in emergencies or the soft ‘governance’ approaches to EU’s global influence, prevalent in the literature. The analysis reveals that embracing the ‘active paradigm’, while at times overambitious, overall is well justified in a wide array of areas. Indeed, the EU’s global legal influence is not only rooted in its very raison d’être - it is much more significant and consequential than many would expect. In fact what is presently suggested is that the standard approach of locating the EU within the international legal order should coexist with a different one: the shaping of the international legal order by the EU. It is this unorthodox approach, which lies at the core of the active paradigm of approaching the study of the EU in the international legal context, that takes centre stage in this edited volume. Crucially, it opens the way to assess the Union’s future role in the world re-imagined under its influence.