Conceptualizing the EU in Traditional Legal Research: How to Deal with Differentiated Integration after Pringle?
21 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 2, 2016
Following a period of increasing internationalization and globalization how should traditional legal scholars and students of EU law approach the process of European integration from a methodological perspective? This essay, located in the cross field between theory- building and legal practice, identifies a preliminary answer to this particular question by refining the legal dimension of Multi-level governance (MLG). This framework was originally introduced in political science by Gary Marks et al. in the early 1990’s to describe, and not explain, the functioning of the EU. In order to bridge the inherent gap between academic disciplines the article constructs a theoretical space along three axes (i.e. sovereignty, decision- making and arenas) where the EU is understood as both a political system and a legal system. Based on a comparative method, the paper then applies the MLG framework to a hard legal case, namely the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) that has given rise to a number of constitutional and substantive law issues addressed by the CJEU in C-370/12, Pringle. This includes the uneasy relationship between the ESM and the No-bail out clause in art. 125 TFEU. On this basis, it is concluded that MLG not only describes some factual characteristics of the EU but also provides a particularly useful analytic tool when confronted with differentiated integration in legal research.
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