The State of Freedom in Europe

European Law Journal, Vol. 21, No. 6, 2015, Forthcoming

LSE Legal Studies Working Paper 17/2015

21 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2015

See all articles by Conor A. Gearty

Conor A. Gearty

London School of Economics - Law School

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Date Written: October 9, 2015


The reaction to 11 September damaged the liberty of those living in Europe who found themselves targeted as suspect terrorists while seeming to do little to ensure the security of the wider community. More recently a second emergency, rooted this time in the financial and economic collapse of 2008 onwards, has caused a further unraveling of Europe’s constitutional project, even threatening the gains of past generations of European idealists. In today’s Europe universal liberty and security have no meaning for many even if their shape is retained in structures that in truth mock rather than deliver democracy and human rights. This article traces the origins of the crises that have afflicted so directly the breadth of liberty and human security in the Union, demonstrating their roots in ‘viruses’ that have been present from the start of the European movement but which have now spiralled out of control. The essay ends by asking what can be done to prevent the full decline of the region into a state of neo-democratic/post-democratic unfreedom, one in which capital unbound from democracy thrives at the expense of the people.

Suggested Citation

Gearty, Conor A., The State of Freedom in Europe (October 9, 2015). European Law Journal, Vol. 21, No. 6, 2015, Forthcoming, LSE Legal Studies Working Paper 17/2015, Available at SSRN:

Conor A. Gearty (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Law School ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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