Multiculturalism, Europhilia and Harmonization: Harmony or Disharmony?

18 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2010

See all articles by Ruth Sefton-Green

Ruth Sefton-Green

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Date Written: November 19, 2010


This paper examines the difficulties of reconciling the values promoted by multiculturalism with the objectives of harmonization. In the event of conflict, examples from English and French law show that harmonization of private law rules does not always achieve its aim of approximating national laws but, on the contrary, often backfires. The question of whether and why these divergences produce Europhile or Eurosceptic positions amongst Member States is addressed. It appears that when maximum harmonisation clashes with multiculturalism this can lead to legal nationalism, whereas minimum harmonization has less negative effects and can stimulate legal experimentation. It is suggested that harmonization requires a mutual listening and learning process in order to accommodate the multiculturalism of Member States and enable Europhilia to flourish in the European Union.

Keywords: Cultural Diversity, Legal Nationalism, Consumer Protection

Suggested Citation

Sefton-Green, Ruth, Multiculturalism, Europhilia and Harmonization: Harmony or Disharmony? (November 19, 2010). Utrecht Law Review, Vol. 6, No. 3, p. 50, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Ruth Sefton-Green (Contact Author)

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne ( email )

12, place du Panthéon
Paris, IL

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