open access

Abstract

In the Court of Justice’s case law, association agreements have been recognised as forming part of the communitarian legal system since the famous ‘Haegeman’ judgment in 1974. The new-generation association agreements concluded by the EU with its Eastern neighbour states explicitly offer a ‘stake in EU law’ as one of the incentives for neighbour states to adapt to the Union’s normative transfer. Less pronounced are perspectives on ‘association law’ itself which derives from the respective association agreements, as a distinct normative order with its own regulatory content that can influence both the associated country’s legal system as well as the EU’s and its Member States’ legal orders. This article aims to address this gap in the literature by first defining and outlining the features of the EU ‘association law’ phenomenon; it then aims to provide an account of the legal nature, regulatory content as well as the legal institutional and functional features of the EU-Ukraine ‘association law’ derived primarily from the Association Agreement between the European Union, its Member States and Ukraine, which entered in force on 1 September 2017, as well as the burgeoning secondary association law, including joint-institutional acts. In what follows, the article will discuss the notion of EU ‘association law’ in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the so-called ‘new-generation association agreements’. It will then outline the teleological nature and instrumental logic of the EU-Ukraine ‘association law’ as an institution of integration, just as it will also disentangle the many layers of the institution of ‘association law’ – from participatory to instrumental and integration-oriented association modalities.