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Constitutional Sovereignty and Social Solidarity in Europe
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous; Ellsworth, Jeffrey
2015Nomos/Bloomsbury, Baden-Baden, Germany


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Editor's Introduction

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Keywords :
Loss of Sovereignty; Solidarity in Europe; European Constitution
Abstract :
[en] The essays in this book respond in different ways to questions regarding sovereignty, constitutionality and social solidarity in the European Union. Some of the essays perceive a threefold deficit in this regard – a constitutionality, sovereignty and solidarity deficit. The common view that can be distilled from them relates to a perception that the people and peoples of the European Union have drifted into a quagmire of political paralysis within which essential features of the paralysis – lack of constitutionality, lack of sovereignty and lack of social solidarity – feed off one another. Lack of solidarity, not only between European citizens, but also between Member States of the European Union, derails all possibilities of common political initiative, fervour and purpose. And absence of such common initiative, fervour and purpose quite evidently explains the faltering of Europe’s constitutional project and the reduction of this project to that which Jürgen Habermas has come to call Europe’s “mindless incrementalism.” Unable to arrive at the constitutionality that would allow for the emergence of European sovereignty, the faltering constitutional process has only managed to dismantle essential elements of sovereignty and social solidarity within the Member States of the European Union. This has led to the double edged lack of sovereignty (lack of sovereignty at EU level and lack of sovereignty in the Member States) that has lead Dieter Grimm to observe (also in his contribution to this book) that there may well be no true sovereign left in Europe today. Against this background, it is perhaps no surprise that a non-sovereign body would step in to take over the responsibilities of sovereign government, and do so on the basis of the only principle that appears prima facie legitimate under circumstances of political paralysis, namely, the ordo-liberal principle of reducing politics to guardianship of free competition between individuals that replaces constitutional law with competition law; hence the crucial role that the market-liberalisation jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice have come to play in the non-sovereign or surreptiously-sovereign way Europe is governed today. To be sure, not all the essays in this book share this grim view. A number of them discern an emergence of new forms of democracy or even new forms of political legitimacy in the complex structures of multi-level governance in the European Union. Between them, however, the spectrum of essays that make up this book undoubtedly provides the reader with a comprehensive study of the key issues of European politics and law today.
Research center :
Research Unit for Law
Disciplines :
Law, criminology & political science: Multidisciplinary, general & others
Editor :
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Law Research Unit
Ellsworth, Jeffrey ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Law Research Unit
Language :
Title :
Constitutional Sovereignty and Social Solidarity in Europe
Publication date :
February 2015
Publisher :
Nomos/Bloomsbury, Baden-Baden, Germany
Number of pages :
Funders :
University of Luxembourg - UL
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since 20 February 2015


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