The limits of unilateralism from a European perspective
Author: Jansen B.
Source: European Journal of International Law, Volume 11, Number 2, 2000 , pp. 309-313(5)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
'Unilateralism' is a sensitive issue in Europe. However, it is ill-defined and a serious effort is required to define this term of art. It needs to be contrasted to terms such as 'multilateralism', 'bilateralism', and 'international cooperation'. Moreover, the term 'unilateralism' is closely tied to the territorial limitations of state jurisdiction. This article focuses on the limits of unilateralism without denying that there may be exceptional instances where unilateral action in the above sense cannot be avoided. One of the most problematic categories of state action in terms of 'unilateralism' and 'extra-territoriality' appears to be that where a state (ab) uses a trade measure in order to exercise coercion or pressure on another state or its citizens with the purpose of 'convincing' that state or its citizens to take action outside the territorial jurisdiction of the former state. The European approach to unilateralism is characterized by extreme prudence and limited flexibility with regard to attempts by individual states to usurp the role of 'world policeman'.
Document Type: Original article
Affiliations: Legal Service of the European Commission, Rue de la Loi 200, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium
Publication date: 2000-01-01
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