Skip to content
Home » Departments and Centres » Projects » The Global Reach of EU Law

The Global Reach of EU Law


EU and the worldWhat do we mean by the global reach of EU law? 

It includes the extraterritorial application of EU law, the presence of ‘territorial extension’, and the so-called ‘Brussels Effect’; all phenomena concerned with the effects of unilateral legislative instruments and regulatory action beyond the EU’s borders.

But ‘global reach’ also refers to the impact of the EU’s bilateral relationships in the form of agreements with third countries or third country agencies, and of the EU’s engagement with multilateral fora and the negotiation of international legal instruments. 


Although we are here concerned with the impact of (EU) law, the instruments used by the EU to facilitate its global reach include, alongside such ‘hard’ law as legislation and international agreements, non-binding – though sometimes highly institutionalized – instruments such as dialogues, agendas for action and guidelines.

Three points flow from this conception of ‘global reach’.

First is the need to appreciate the relationship between these different modes of EU action – unilateral, bilateral and multilateral – and the ways in which they interact.

Second, this interplay indicates that the global reach of EU law is not limited to the export of the EU’s own internal acquis; it may involve the use of EU instruments (both unilateral and bilateral) to support the adoption and application of international law.

And third, the instruments of the global reach of EU law are often presented (not least by the EU itself) as mechanisms for the promotion of its values, part of the EU’s external mandate under Articles 3(5) and 21 TEU. 

Project Directors: Marise Cremona and Joanne Scott 


The UCL Centre for Environmental Law Annual Lecture: Zoonotic Disease Emergence and the EU’s Global Environmental/Land Use Footprint: Limits and Possibilities

Speaker: Joanne Scott (Professor of European Law, European University Institute, Florence)

24 November 2020








Joanne Scott (2020), Reducing the EU’s Environmental Footprint Through ‘Territorial Extension in Mauerhofer et al (eds), Sustainability and Law

sustainability and law

Joanne Scott (2020) The Global Reach of EU Law in Reich and Micklitz (eds), The Impact of the European court of Justice on Neighbouring Countries



Joanne Scott (2020). Reducing the EU’s Global Environmental FootprintGerman Law Journal, 21(1), 10-16.

german_law journal

 Marise Cremona and Joanne Scott (eds), EU Law Beyond EU Borders: The Extraterritorial Reach of EU Law (OUP, Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law, vol. XXVII/2, 2019) 


Cremona and Scott



  • Workshop: Asia and the Global Reach of European Union Law, 10-11 June 2019. Programme.
  • Workshop: The External Impact of the European Court of Justice: The Influence of ECJ Judgments on Non-EU Countries, 8 October 2018. Programme. 
  • Lecture: 'The Global Reach of EU Law: The EU as an International Legal Actor', The Yves Mény Annual Lecture  by Marise Cremona, 26 September 2018. Video. 
  • Workshop with the Authors, The Global Reach of EU Law, 27 February 2017. Programme



Page last updated on 09 December 2020

Go back to top of the page