Workshop on Exiting Institutions – Napoli, 6 September 2017

Interest Group on International Organizations and Interest Group on the EU as a Global Actor

Joint Workshop

6 September 2017, University of Naples,
Via Nuova Marina, ROOM A 7, 15h00 – 18h00

Recent years have seen an extraordinary crisis of confidence in international institutions. From the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union to the mooted exodus of African States from the International Criminal Court, states are reconsidering their membership in international institutions in ways that were unthinkable a short time ago.

This gives rise to multiple challenges in international law, in terms of both the immediate legal issues which arise from the process of state withdrawal and the deeper questions about what international cooperation will look like in the coming years.

In order to explore these themes the ESIL Interest Groups on the European Union as a Global Actor and on International Organizations are jointly hosting a workshop prior to the ESIL Conference in Naples (September 2017). The connections between the two focal areas of the Interest Groups are visible for instance, in relation to how the exit of states from international organizations may impact the cooperation between the EU and these organizations. At the same time, exits from the EU will have an influence on the relation between the EU and other international organizations and between the ex-EU members and these organizations.

Discussions in the workshop are structured along the lines of three general themes: the rights and duties of exiting members, the legal position of individuals and the future of multilateralism.


Panel I – The rights and duties of exiting states (15h00)

One of the most interesting international legal issues to arise from states exiting institutions is whether exiting states have, in effect, a blank slate regarding the obligations of the institution of which they were a member. This is particularly important in the case of the EU, as the Union is party to a huge range of international instruments.  Furthermore, the involvement of the Security Council in the operation of the ICC raises questions of whether exiting states will truly be able to make a clean break.

Chair: Ramses Wessel

Presentations by:

  • Jan Wouters ‘Exiting international organizations’
  • Jed Odermatt ‘British Trade Policy After Brexit’
  • Siri Silvereke ‘Getting divorced is bad, but being divorced is worse? – The effect of the Brexit for Free Trade Agreements of the EU’


Panel II – The legal position of affected individuals (16h00)

Complex organizations such as the EU and the ICC have had a significant impact on the legal position of individuals within the territories of member states. It is wholly unprecedented that withdrawal from an international organization should result in the loss of the rights of citizenship or a relaxation in the enforcement of individual criminal liability.

Chair: Catherine Brölmann

Presentations by:

  • William Worster ‘Leaving the European Union and International Law Limitations on Loss of EU Citizenship’
  • Juan-Pablo Perez-Leon-Acevedo ‘Why not to proceed with a mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction? Analysis under victim-oriented perspectives’
  • Maruša Veber ‘Legal Implications Of Brexit On The European Union’s Sanction Mechanisms’


Panel III – The future of multilateralism (17h00)

Critical voices arguing that international organizations are unaccountable, serve the interests of global elites and too eagerly accumulate new competences have moved from the margins of academic debate to the centre of public discourse. Simultaneously, we have seen a re-emergence of the importance of national sovereignty in domestic politics, buoyed by the resurgence of nationalism across the globe. It is uncertain how this crisis of multilateralism will shape future attitudes towards and engagement with global institutions. With regard to EU-exits, questions emerge as to the impact of these events on EU external strategies and the role the Union will be able to play in wider multilateral forums.

Chair: Richard Collins

Presentations by:

  • Frederick Cowell ‘From opposition to exiting: The consequences of the increased use of exit clauses in regional human rights tribunals’
  • Nicolas Kang-Riou and David Rossati ‘Exiting institutions as a response to regime juridification’
  • Guy Fiti Sinclair ‘The Postcolonial Origins of International Organizations Law’
  • Philip Burton ‘Multilateralism, crises and markets’

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