The European Economic Constitution and Its Transformation Through the Financial Crisis
27 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2012
Date Written: October 1, 2012
The idea of an “economic constitution” was developed by a group of German economists and lawyers in the Weimar Republic which sought a “third - the ordo-liberal - way” between laissez-faire liberalism and socialist politics. Ordo-liberalism survived the Third Reich untainted. In the 50s, it was complemented by the concept of the social market economy. In the formative phase of the EEC, ordo-liberal scholars started to promote the ensemble of European economic freedoms and a system of undistorted competition as the constitutional core of the integration project. Economic and Monetary Union as accomplished by the Maastricht Treaty were expected to complete this project. However, the whole edifice started to erode immediately after its establishment. Following the financial and the sovereign debt crises, EMU with its commitments to price stability and monetary politics is perceived as a failed construction precisely because of its reliance on inflexible rules. The European crisis management seeks to compensate for these failures by means of regulatory machinery which disregards the European order of competences, disempowers national institutions, burdens, in particular, Southern Europe with austerity measures; it establishes pan-European commitments to budgetary discipline and macroeconomic balancing. The ideal of a legal ordering of the European economy is thus abolished while the economic and social prospects of these efforts seem gloomy and the Union’s political legitimacy becomes precarious.
Keywords: Ordoliberalism, Economic governance, Fiscal Compact, Six-Pack, Maastricht judgment, Greek rescue package judgment, ESM judgment
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