Implications of European Disintegration for International Law

51 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2011 Last revised: 8 Jul 2015

See all articles by Matthew C. Turk

Matthew C. Turk

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business

Date Written: March 1, 2011


The European debt crisis that started in 2009 has revealed underlying structural problems in the European Monetary Union that threaten the viability of the common currency in its current form. An unraveling of monetary coordination in Europe would mark a significant event of disintegration in the face of a decades-long trend of integration that was commonly considered to be an inevitable and self-sustaining process. This Article argues that even a reasonable possibility of disintegration of this magnitude upsets previous theories about European integration that over-emphasized the EU’s “supranational” character.

More generally, disintegration poses serious problems across the spectrum of international law scholarship, much of which has organized itself around the historically contingent trend of integration as if it were an ahistorical given. The debt crisis reveals that the European example is used by both “Skeptical” and “Cosmopolitan” international law scholars as a rhetorical strategy that conceals fundamental weaknesses of both viewpoints in their debate over the limits and promise of international legal cooperation.

Keywords: EU, Greece, Debt Crisis, International Law, Law and Economics, European Integration, Theories of International Law

Suggested Citation

Turk, Matthew C., Implications of European Disintegration for International Law (March 1, 2011). Columbia Journal of European Law, Vol. 17, p. 395, 2011, Available at SSRN:

Matthew C. Turk (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business ( email )

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