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Document Details :
Title: Europe as Heimwelt and Fremdwelt
Subtitle: Constituent Power and the Genesis of Legal Order
Author(s): LINDAHL, Hans
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 13 Issue: 3 Date: september 2006
The current debate about the borders of the European Union, hence about its spatial unity, is also a debate about its historical unity. How, then, are we to understand the possible interconnection between space and time with respect to the Community’s legal order and, more generally, with respect to an order of positive law? Initially, this paper explains why received legal theory is incapable of understanding the European Community as a legal time- space. Subsequently, an analysis of Van Gend & Loos, a famous ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, reveals that law-setting temporalises and spatialises, in the strong sense that to posit a legal norm is also always to posit a legal order as a temporal and spatial unity. As becomes clear in the course of the inquiry, the ambiguity governing the genesis of a legal order manifests itself in what Bernhard Waldenfels calls the chiasm of strangeness and familiarity: the institution of the European Community as a Heimwelt also makes of Europe a Fremdwelt, thereby precluding that Europe can altogether be the Community’s “own” place.