August 01
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Manuale di diritto dell’Unione Europea

Giuseppe Tesauro (Eds. P. De Pasquale, F. Ferraro)

review by

Gaspare Fiengo

In the 467 pages that compose his Manuale di diritto dell’Unione europea (EU Law Handbook), Professor Giuseppe Tesauro offers to the reader, regardless if she or he is a young student or a mature legal expert, a clear picture of the EU’s legal system. The recently published textbook (updated to ‘Brexit date’, 31 January 2020) has been printed by a new publisher (Editoriale Scientifica, Naples). This latest edition merges the results of the seven previous editions, covering the period from 1995, when the Professor was Advocate General at the Court of Justice, until 2012, when he initially held the position of Judge of the Constitutional Court and then becoming its President in 2014.

In this recent publication – edited by Professors Patrizia De Pasquale and Fabio Ferraro – the handbook covers only the so-called ‘general part’ of EU law, with the author’s intention to publish a second volume dealing with material law, competition law, fundamental freedoms and the most significant policies of the EU.

As the author says in his introduction, the ambition of the first edition and all the following others was to pay tribute to the knowledge of the Community legal system in its specific way of functioning. With the usual clearness and the avant-garde vision distinguishing him, it can certainly be affirmed that the goal is fully achieved.

After a brief but significant historical introduction of the evolution of the EU from the Treaty of Rome to the no more recent changes of Lisbon, the author masterfully describes the entire institutional architecture of the European Union. The first chapters are intended primarily to describe the characteristics of the membership of the EU, the institutional framework and the division of competences between the EU and the Member States. Then the handbook focuses on the EU legal sources and on the formation of the legislative acts, on the relations between the EU and the national legal orders, with particular reference to the Italian one, and on European citizenship. Finally, it ends with a specific section about the EU judicial protection system.

Among the many peculiarities of this handbook, there is very up-to-date jurisprudence and consistent references to the political reality that merge and enhance the legal analysis. Therefore a strong Europeanist vision emerges, even though not Eurocentric. The author has played the highest roles both as an uppermost expert in national and European legal authorities, thus developing a complete vision of the real meaning of the integration process.


Gaspare Fiengo is Associate Professor of European Union Law at the University of Naples Suor Orsola Benincasa.



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