In this Issue
In July 2013, our founding editor Francis Snyder and his successor, Agustín José Menéndez, wrote the Editorial
marking the transition from one editorship to the next. ‘Change comes very naturally to the European Law Journal’,
they noted, and went on to write:
The contextual approach to the study of law, which is and will remain the core identity of the journal,
is premised on a constant questioning: the questioning of what is taken for granted in legal‐dogmatic
discourses by reference to the perspective and standpoint of other social disciplines, or to put it in
slightly different terms, of other ways of seeing the law. Indeed, it seems to us that profound
changes will result from asking anew what law in context means, and what it entails.
We start our editorship with the perfectly conservative affirmation of this intellectual programme of constant
questioning. We would like to see the ELJ rattle and shake shared understandings and dominant discourses, and that
most certainly includes the continuous unsettling of the shared understandings and discourses the ELJ itself engenders.
If there ever were to be such a thing as a format for the ‘classic ELJ article’,our mission will have failed.
The ‘Menéndez years’of the ELJ have coincided with a profound and lasting crisis of the Union and much of what
it was supposed to stand for: unity in diversity, economic prosperity and solidarity, the rule of law. The crisis has also
laid bare the complacency—and at times, the complicity—of European legal scholarship. The pages of this Journal
have hosted many important contributions on the Union's crises, but none perhaps as urgent and compelling as
Menéndez's Editorials. As the most visible manifestations of his stewardship, we will find occasion to revisit and
reconsider these soon. The digital archives of the ELJ contain the more obscure and even more impressive evidence
of the Menéndez years: hundreds upon hundreds of pages' worth of comments, advice and suggestions on
manuscripts. Though authors may have been exasperated at times, we are sure they will agree that their work
became all the better for Agustín's selfless labours. We are delighted to announce that Agustín has accepted to
remain closely tied to the Journal and join the Board of Editors.
Though we cannot claim any credit for it, we are all the more pleased to introduce this issue. Gareth Davies asks
whether there is a particularly good reason to accept the Court's assertion of interpretative monopoly over the Treaties.
Finding none, he embraces the concept of ‘interpretative pluralism’as a way out of over‐constitutionalisation, judicial
resistance of national courts, and impoverished political discourse. What he seeks to achieve is to ‘reprioritise the
agreement embodied in the Treaties, rather than the institutions around it.’Robert Schütze delves into history to see
how far the original understanding of the famous Dassonville formula diverges from modern accepted wisdom that sees
it as a radical departure from contemporaneous scripts for market integration. Karin van Leeuwen's historical
reconstruction of the circumstances surrounding early Dutch preliminary references, including the one that gave rise
to the iconic judgment in Van Gend en Loos, seeks to re‐emphasize structure—the Dutch open economy—over the
agency of entrepreneurial Euro‐lawyers. In the process of doing EU legal history, both Schütze and van Leeuwen
express strong—if different—ideas on how best to do EU legal history. They both also offer a useful reminder of how
much of market integration is a matter of mundane customs forms, declarations and certificates, a point current Brexit
negotiations will not let us forget. Roman Guski's essay is a systems‐theoretical analysis, as playful as it is insightful, of
the elusive concept of the ‘abuse of law’. The notion's inherent paradoxical nature—how to lawfully decide in law that
356 © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Eur Law J. 2018;24:356–357.wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/eulj