Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The EU the UK Germany and Law

John Archer wrote at the Margot Wallström blog: "Andis, Please don't underestimate your audience. That sounded like a lecture. I almost feel like objecting to it."

Here is our reply:

John, we do not want to be accused of "lecturing", but this may be a professional habit. We never underestimate the intelligence of other people, otherwise, what would be the point of writing for others to read. But what we do sometimes doubt is the state of men's FACTUAL knowledge about the topics on which they nevertheless often have strong opinions. For example, not to be picking just on the UK, our law students in Germany were always amazed - and sometimes not too pleased - to discover the FACTUAL origins of their legal system. The German Civil Code (as most continental European law) is based on "Roman Law", on the Code of Justinian. But this is not Rome, Italy. Rather, this is the "Roman Law" of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) headquartered in the then Christian Constantinople, today's Istanbul (see http://www.fsmitha.com/h3/h01const.htm). Justinian himself was born in what we today call Serbia and Montenegro (former Yugoslavia), which back then was Latin-speaking (see http://www.edunetconnect.com/categories/byzantium/emperors.php). Essentially, much of the common law of the UK is rooted in Germanic and Scandinavian tribal law. Paradoxically, Germany itself now has a legal system rooted in the Byzantine Empire. Knowing such facts about the ancient history of Europe and understanding the many historical ties that exist between all of the nations of Europe makes the issue of EU integration look somewhat different than it is portrayed by its modern opponents.

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