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Given the enormous changes clearly evident in the history of the last twelve years, it is not surprising that this second edition of a well-known book – first published in 1996 as EC Commercial Law – is completely new, from its structure and content to its very title, now European Economic Law. The new title emphasizes the complex legal regime affecting undertakings in Europe today, open to the whole world and subject as they are to ever-new situations governed by rules derived from both the EC Treaty and from WTO/GATT obligations.
Professor Santa Maria’s book, especially in this second edition, presents a thoroughgoing legal analysis of the prominence of corporate and business enterprises in what many theorists see as the intrinsic ‘internationality’ of social activity in the current era. In the course of its intensive discussion, the book brilliantly disentangles the complex interrelations among a vast array of economic factors.
The analysis recognizes the propelling role of the European Court of Justice in the development of European economic law – including the ‘proportional’ exercise of control in the court’s recent case-law – as well as the Commission’s responsibility for ‘managing’ European trade. European Economic Law stands out from other books on the subject in its unremitting emphasis on rules introduced on the basis of multilateral agreements of an unprecedented reach, within which both States and undertakings are made to recognize and to deal with one another.
This is a perspective daunting in its scope and breadth, but one which Professor Santa Maria encompasses in a synthesizing and enlightening way that will be of immeasurable value to all parties with an interest – academic, juridical, or administrative – in this very important area of law.