Karen Gram-Skjoldager – Københavns Universitet

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Karen Gram-Skjoldager


Europeanization on the Outside? Denmark’s Reception of European Law, 1950-1972

The emergence of European public law from 1952 not only had effects for the founding members of the European Community (EC). But the legal consequences of European integration were already significant for prospective member states before they acceded to the EC. Surprisingly however we know very little about how the Danish political, administrative and legal elites viewed and handled the legal issues at stake. This pro­ject proposes to address this lacuna in two ways.

Firstly, this project will explore how a num­ber of important Danish legal ex­perts perceived the developments in European public law from 1950, when the Treaty of Paris was negotiated, to the eve of accession in 1972. It will do this: by mapping the networks and contacts through which these jurists gained their knowledge; by exploring the types and channels of information available to them; and by determining in particular the reactions to the constitutional practice from 1963-64 onwards. This project will thus provide the first substantive insight into the mechanisms through which the new European legal agenda made its way to Denmark as well as into the general understand­ing and position towards European public law in Denmark before 1973.

Secondly, this project will examine how Den­mark prepared for the legal implications of Danish membership in terms of official policy formation. We know that from the mid-1960s, Danish diplomats generally regarded the EC as a cooperative structure where the integration dynamic had slowed down and lost importance. Did this assessment also include the legal sphere? How did the Danish politico-legal traditions of political disengagement and legal dualism shape official perceptions of and engagements with the EC? And how did the emergence of a new European legal expertise in the Danish legal elite feed into this process? During the two rounds of enlargement negoti­ations (1961-63 and 1970-72) the question of whether the Danish constitution allowed for membership of the EC emerged in the public de­bate. Was this an aspect seriously considered by the administration and governments? In which ways did concerns of this kind play into the Dan­ish negotiations for membership?