FIDE (Fédération Internationale pour le Droit Européen) - the International Federation for European Law - focuses as the name suggests on ‘European law’. By many, this is seen as being more or less identical with the study and development of the law and institutions of the European Union. Therefore, ‘European Union law’ (or ‘EU law’) is here to be understood more widely and as including the context in which the EU is situated (i.e. not only as including the law as such deriving from the EU institutions, but also e.g. the interrelationship between EU law and the law of the Member States, the external relations of the EU, the impact of the law drafted by the Council of Europe, or the judgments from the European Court of Human Rights).
FIDE is ‘international’ in the sense that it unites various national associations for European law. In other words, FIDE constitutes an umbrella organisation. The national associations are mainly situated in the Member States of the EU (as well as a few in candidate countries and in Norway and Switzerland). At present, in this way FIDE has altogether 29 member organisations.
The national association for European law which will be in charge of a forthcoming FIDE Congress will at the same time hold the presidency of FIDE. Such a presidency will typically last two years.
Objective and Intentions
Pursuant to Article 1 of FIDE’s statutes its objective is formulated as:
‘The International Federation for European Law is set up, bringing together the national associations created in the Member States of the European Community, the activity of which is devoted to the study and development of the law and institutions of the European Community.’
This objective is largely seen as fulfilled by organising the biennial congresses including the important publications of the proceedings.
Pursuant to its statutes, FIDE is an impartial and non-profit making association set up in accordance with Belgian law. Here, the intentions of FIDE are defined:
- To promote the objectives of the member associations, in particular by organizing common events and by encouraging contacts and exchange of information between them.
- To bring together lawyers who are interested in European Law and the laws of the European countries.
- To study together the solutions to the legal problems which occur in all areas due to the evolution of the structures and institutions of the European Community [i.e. now EU].
- To make aware the importance of these problems to all those interested.
In other words, FIDE provides legal scholars, practitioners, and others with a unique forum to address current and important issues of EU law.
The History of FIDE and the Slogan of the Congress
FIDE has existed for more than 50 years and has evolved into a remarkable institution within the field of European (Union) law. For more details on its history, the following article written by Judge at the European Court of Human Rights and Professor Julia Laffranque (President of FIDE 2011-12) is recommended: "FIDE—Uniting Great Minds of European Law: 50 years of the International Federation for European Law", published in JURIDICA INTERNATIONAL XVIII/2011 .
The headline of this article has been invented by Julia Laffranque and with her permission it is now used as a slogan for the FIDE Congress 2014, however with a slight change. In order to stress the relationship between 'European law' and 'EU law" it is now formulated as:
FIDE—Uniting Great Minds of European Law