Germany vs. Europe: The Principle of Democracy in German Constitutional Law and the Struggle for European Integration
Washington and Lee University - School of Law
August 13, 2013
Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2013-14
As the Euro-crisis grinds on, the German Federal Constitutional Court has repeatedly intervened to review and qualify Germany’s essential participation in bail-out measures. The Court has sought to ensure that involvement in Europe’s ever-deeper economic and political integration does not compromise Germany’s domestic constitutional commitment to democracy. The principle of democracy (Demokratieprinzip) is part of Germany’s unalterable “constitutional identity” and it has emerged as the main limitation on Germany’s participation in and contribution to the European Union. On the basis of the German Constitutional Court’s European jurisprudence, this paper characterizes the principle of democracy as a valorization of fully-informed, rational, parliamentary governance exercised on behalf of the electorate by a plurality of widely representative political parties in open debate over public policy. This is a vision of democracy suited to national political systems and cultures and only poorly aligned with the reality of Europe’s supranational political institutions and framework.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 33
Keywords: Euro-Crisis, Principle of Democracy, German Constitutional Law, European Integration, Democratic Deficit, Lisbon Case, German Federal Constitutional Court, ESM Case, European Stability Mechanism (ESM)
JEL Classification: K10, K30working papers series
Date posted: August 14, 2013 ; Last revised: September 6, 2013
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