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The Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

In Place of Inter-State Retaliation: The European Union's Rejection of WTO-Style Trade Sanctions and Trade Remedies

William Phelan book cover
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Monday, March 9, 2015
12:00 p.m.
10 Stone Ave, Room 201

RSVP to by March 4.

with William Phelan, Trinity College Dublin

Discussant: Ken Kersch, Boston College

about the event


Unlike many other trade regimes, the European Union forbids the use of inter-state retaliation to enforce its obligations, and rules out the use of common 'escape' mechanisms such as anti-dumping between the EU member states. How does the EU do without these mechanisms that appear so vital to the political viability of other international trade regimes, including the World Trade Organization? How, therefore, is the European legal order, with the European Court of Justice at its centre, able to be so much more binding and intrusive than the legal obligations of many other trade regimes? In his talk, Prof. Phelan will put forward a new explanation of a key part of the European Union's legal system, emphasising its break with the inter-state retaliation mechanisms and how Europe's special form of legal integration is facilitated by intra-industry trade, parliamentary forms of national government, and European welfare states. 

New Book: In Place of Inter-State Retaliation: The European Union's Rejection of WTO-Style Trade Sanctions and Trade Remedies


about the speaker


William Phelan

William Phelan is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Trinity College Dublin. His research—which is centered on international relations—examines international organization, the politics of European law, and institutions such as the European Court of Justice and the World Trade Organization.

Professor Phelan’s articles have been published in International Studies Review, International Theory, European Law Journal, Journal of European Public PolicyEuropean Law Review, Irish Journal of European Law, and Journal of Common Market Studies. His current research project is intended to develop a generalized explanation for the constitutional effectiveness of the European Union’s transnational legal order. This explanation focuses on the democratic institutions of member states and the adherence to international obligations despite the absence of bilateral sanctions.

Professor Phelan holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University. He has previously lectured at Middlebury College and has been a resident scholar at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University.