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It is no exaggeration to describe the relationship between the European Union and international arbitration as the most dramatic confrontation between two international legal regimes seen in a great many years. International law scholars commonly lament the "fragmentation" of international law, i.e., the co-existence of multiple international legal regimes whose competences overlap and whose policies may differ, resulting in a degree of regulatory disorder. However, seldom do these regimes actually "collide." By contrast, the two international regimes in which we are interested this evening international arbitration and the European Union may be described, without hyperbole, as on a collision course. Arguably, the collision has already occurred.

The emergence of hostilities on this scale in recent years came about as something of a surprise to me. At Columbia and elsewhere, I have taught EU law and international arbitration law concurrently in different courses, of course for more decades than I care to count. Over that period, I have written and spoken about the EU and international arbitration as separate and distinct enterprises. Rarely did teaching, writing or speaking of one necessitate, or even prompt, discussion of the other.


Dispute Resolution and Arbitration | European Law | International Law | Law