Integration Among Unequals: How the Heterogeneity of European Varieties of Capitalism Shapes the Social and Democratic Potential of the EU

MPIfG Discussion Paper 12/5

38 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2012

See all articles by Martin Höpner

Martin Höpner

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies

Armin Schäfer

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies

Date Written: July 27, 2012

Abstract

At first glance, the social purpose and the democratic potential of the EU have made progress in the last 15 years. However, this impression is misleading. We argue instead that the social and democratic potentials of the EU are crucially shaped by the heterogeneity of European varieties of capitalism. First, we locate our argument in the integration literature and argue that political-economic heterogeneity shapes not only intergovernmental bargains but also the opportunities for judicial integration. Second, we document the heterogeneity among European varieties of capitalism and how it has increased with each round of enlargement. Third, we show how the heterogeneity of political-economic interests has led governments to opt for autonomy-protecting solutions whenever European initiatives have targeted highly sensitive institutions that constitute their different political-economic regimes. Fourth, we also show that, despite this, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has often overruled such autonomy-protecting measures by extending the reach and scope of the European fundamental freedoms. We conclude, fifth, that the asymmetry between market-enforcing and market-restricting integration is not likely to disappear in the near future, and that the heterogeneity of European varieties of capitalism limits not only the social but also the democratic potential of the EU.

Keywords: European integration, social Europe, European Court of Justice

Suggested Citation

Höpner, Martin and Schäfer, Armin, Integration Among Unequals: How the Heterogeneity of European Varieties of Capitalism Shapes the Social and Democratic Potential of the EU (July 27, 2012). MPIfG Discussion Paper 12/5. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2149634 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2149634

Martin Höpner

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies ( email )

Paulstr. 3
50676 Koln
Germany

Armin Schäfer (Contact Author)

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies ( email )

Paulstr. 3
50676 Koln
Germany

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