The New Nomos of Europe

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Burgess, J. Peter (2009) The New Nomos of Europe, Geopolitics 14(1): 135–160.

According to Carl Schmitt, in his late work The Nomos of the Earth, published in 1950, the long evolution in the relation between humans and the earth has been decisive for the nature of traditional legal order. The historical links to European international jurisprudence (ius publicum Europaeum) have decayed with the old world order that supported them. Territoriality, once the foundation of the nation-state has evolved, causing a parallel change in the nation-state paradigm of sovereignty and the fabric of international law which has its basis in that paradigm. If Schmitt is correct in his prognoses about the end of a global era and the rise of a new yet uncharted world order in the mid-1940s, then the architects of the nascent European Coal and Steel Community face the same conditions, and must carry out their work with the same cultural, social and juridical raw materials, against the backdrop of the same concrete historical experience. This article will attempt to continue the trajectory of Schmitt's historical analysis of the ius publicum Europeaum, suggesting how its central concepts and theses map onto the grand geopolitical and civilisational project of European construction from 1950 to 2004 and beyond. It will explore the applicability of the concept of nomos for the nature of EU evolution, and interpret general elements of the European legal system in terms of the concept of nomos.

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J. Peter Burgess

J. Peter Burgess

Research Professor