open access


One of the mantras of European Community Law is that which defines it as “[…] a new legal order of international law […]”. Like every mantra, this one has become a quasi-compulsory quote at the opening of every other treatise on EC law. If we take the Van Gend statement as our starting point, how is the “new legal order” doing in the new Member States, some two years after accession?
This paper consists of three parts. The first part discusses current “European” case law in national courts, giving examples of the use of EC law before domestic courts. Special attention is paid to cases which “made it to Luxembourg”, i.e. references for preliminary rulings from the new Community courts. The second part of the paper focuses on three particular areas that are currently of great importance to the smooth application of EC law in the new Member States: issues concerning the temporal application of EC law and inter-temporal arrangement; the problem of the lack of due publication of EC law provisions in the languages of the new Member States; and the question of who is supposed to be acquainted with, and raise points about, Community law before a court. The third part of the paper makes some generalisations about the current and future application of EC law in Central Europe.
The focus of this paper is limited: our area of territorial analysis will be the “Visegrad states”, i.e. the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Poland and Hungary. Of these four, the greatest attention will be paid to the current situation in the Czech Republic.