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Looking back on the 60th anniversary conference of CML Rev.

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Common Market Law Review, the Editors of the Review hosted a one-day conference on 'Membership of the European Union: Implication, Challenges, Boundaries' on Friday, 9 June 2023. EU law scholars from different countries all over Europe travelled to sunny Leiden and gathered in the Telders Auditorium of Leiden University’s Academy Building to reflect on what it means to be a Member State of the European Union.

The conference was filled with stimulating presentations and active discussions, subdivided into four sessions centred on different aspects of EU membership. After warm words of welcome by Professor Stefaan Van den Bogaert, Vice-Dean of Leiden Law School, and an introductory keynote by Professor Marise Cremona on the concept of EU membership in general terms, the first session of the day on 'Core values of EU Membership, national identity and justiciability' kicked off. Dr Ruth Weber (Humboldt University of Berlin) and Dr Vestert Borger (Europa Institute, Leiden University) reflected upon the principle of democracy as an EU value set by Article 2 TEU and the foundational notion of solidarity binding the Member States to one another respectively, followed by a thought-provoking panel discussion chaired by Ben Smulders (European Commission) where different interpretations of the scope of basic EU principles were offered and debated.  

After a short coffee break, the second session on 'Member States and obligations' commenced. The panel comprised of Professor Paul Dermine (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Professor Sara Iglesias Sanchez (Universidad Complutense of Madrid) and Dr Eleni Frantziou (Durham Law School), and was chaired by Professor Niamh Nic Shuibhne (University of Edinburgh). Different implications of EU membership were explored – the increasingly prevalent idea of governance through funding, the constitutional status of EU Member States as interpreted by the ECJ, and the indistinct boundaries of the Court’s jurisdiction under Article 51 of the Charter – and led to a concluding discussion on different facets of obligations arising for Member States arising from their EU membership.  

The third session scrutinised 'Dynamics of Membership' by considering two perspectives on EU membership: on the one hand, the view of countries with aspirations of membership and, on the other hand, the view of a former EU Member State which voluntarily withdrew. Dr Andi Hoxhaj (University College London) presented the quest of States of the Western Balkans for EU membership, while Professor Eleanor Spaventa (Bocconi University) addressed some of the difficulties in reconciling EU-UK relations after Brexit. The ensuing discussion was chaired by Professor Giorgio Monti (Tilburg University) and allowed for a deeper dive into different perspectives on and implications of (non) EU membership for certain neighbouring States.

In the fourth and final session, 'Transformations' of EU membership were discussed. Dr Maria Haag (Tilburg University), Dr Anna Ghavanini (University of Gothenburg) and Dr Alessandro Petti (University of Oslo) provided insightful contributions on Union citizenship, the way national courts shape EU membership and the ever-increasing geopolitical aspect of EU membership respectively. Professor Marise Cremona (European University Institute) chaired the discussion reflecting on specific areas in which EU membership faces challenges and limitations. 

Finally, Professor Miroslaw Wyrzykowski (University of Warsaw) shared some powerful closing words on the continued importance of EU law scholarship, and former Managing Editor of Common Market Law Review, Alison McDonnell, concluded the conference with some reflections on the evolution of the Review over the last 30 years.

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