The Political Economy of European Federalism
Posted: 13 Jun 2006
In spite of the clear objective assigned to the integration process in the 1950s, the institutional status of the European Union remains ambiguous and uneasy to define. The argument that we present in this article is that Europe has always hesitated between two forms of federalism. We use an agency framework and demonstrate that before the landmark cases Van Gend en Loos and Costa v. E.N.E.L., the European Union is mainly a confederation but it already contains elements of a federation. Afterwards, the institutional structure of the Union evolves towards a more centralised federalism but still shows lasting elements of a confederation.
Keywords: Federation, confederation, political economy, European Union
JEL Classification: D72, H11, K10, N41
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