Law and Politics in Europe's Crisis: On the History of the Impact of an Unfortunate Configuration

EUI Working Papers LAW No. 2013/09

21 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2013

See all articles by Christian Joerges

Christian Joerges

University of Bremen - Faculty of Law; Hertie School of Governance

Date Written: July 1, 2013


European Integration was constructed as a primarily economic project. In its formative phase ordoliberal scholars started to promote the understanding of the ensemble of European economic freedoms togther with a system of undistorted competition as the legal framework and normative core of the EEC, i.e. as Europe’s ‘economic’ constitution. Economic and Monetary Union as institutionalized 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 its focus on monetary politics is by now widely perceived as a failed construction precisely because of its reliance on inflexible rules. The European crisis management seeks to compensate these failures by regime which disregards the European order of competences, des-empowers national institutions and burdens in particular Southern Europe with austerity measures. This new mode of economic governance establishes pan-European commitments to budgetary discipline and macroeconomic balancing. The ideal of an ordering of the European economy ‘through law’ is thereby abolished while the economic and social prospects of these efforts seem gloomy and the Union’s political legitimacy is eroding.

Keywords: European Economic Constitution, Monetary Union, Financial crisis, Economic governance, Constitutional adjudication, Carl Schmitt, Jürgen Habermas, Unity in diversity

Suggested Citation

Joerges, Christian, Law and Politics in Europe's Crisis: On the History of the Impact of an Unfortunate Configuration (July 1, 2013). EUI Working Papers LAW No. 2013/09. Available at SSRN: or

Christian Joerges (Contact Author)

University of Bremen - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 330440
Bremen, 28334

Hertie School of Governance ( email )

Friedrichstraße 180
Berlin, 10117

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