Europe Deciphered: Ideas, Institutions and Laws

Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Vol. 33, pp. 63-84, 2009

49 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2009 Last revised: 4 Apr 2010

See all articles by Eric Engle

Eric Engle

Date Written: February 2, 2009


The European Union (EU) is founded on conceptual variants within liberalism such as corporatism and ordo-liberalism which are collectivist, not individualist, social, not contractarian, and confederal, not federal. The institutions and laws which grow from these concepts often, but not always, parallel or converge on similar U.S. ideas, institutions and laws. This article traces out the conceptual foundations and objectives of the E.U. to understand the sources and extent of convergences and divergences in E.U. confederalism with respect to U.S. federalism. Understanding Europe will strengthen transatlantic relations and enable North and South Americans to draw lessons about economic and political integration from the world's largest trading bloc in order to improve economic well being and political stability throughout the Americas.

Keywords: EU, EC, European Union, ECJ, ECHR, ECtHR, trade, integration, functionalism, corporatism, ordo-liberal, ordo-liberalism, liberalism, confederalism, federalism, institutions, ideas, law, drittwirkung, third party effect, wirtschaftsverfassung, economic constitution, freiburg, france, germany

JEL Classification: K19, K33, FJ5, J53

Suggested Citation

Engle, Eric, Europe Deciphered: Ideas, Institutions and Laws (February 2, 2009). Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Vol. 33, pp. 63-84, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Eric Engle (Contact Author) ( email )

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