What is Left of the European Economic Constitution?

38 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2004

See all articles by Christian Joerges

Christian Joerges

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

Date Written: November 2004


The essay starts from the assumption that the efforts to cure Europe's democracy deficits will also have to address the social problematique of the Europeanization process. This is a challenge with new dimensions. Europe had started its integrationist path as a mere economic community. In its formative era, the constitutional perspectives of German Ordo-liberalism were attractive. In the ordo-liberal account, the European polity has a twofold structure: At supranational level, it is committed to economic rationality and a system of undistorted competition.

Redistributive (social) policies could - and should - be left to the Member States. This edifice was refined in the 1970s and 80s. Monetary Union and the Stability Pact completed it. The German Constitutional Court's Maastricht judgment endorsed its constitutional validity. However, the new dynamics and the strive for an "ever closer Union" in the Maastricht Treaty has led to a strengthening of European regulatory policies and a broadening of their scope, which were incompatible with the ordo-liberal legacy. The erosion of the economic constitution has not paved the way to a cure for Europe's social deficit. Neither the Open Method of Co-ordination nor the commitment to a "social market economy" in the Constitutional Treaty nor the new "social rights" provide a conceptually sufficient and politically credible basis for this end.

Keywords: Legitimacy, open coordination, economic law, stability pact, welfare state, European Convention

Suggested Citation

Joerges, Christian, What is Left of the European Economic Constitution? (November 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=635402 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.635402

Christian Joerges (Contact Author)

University of Bremen - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 330440
Bremen, 28334

Hertie School of Governance ( email )

Friedrichstra├če 180
Berlin, 10117

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