RECON Report No 10



The Sinews of European Peace

Reconstituting the Democratic Legitimacy of the Socio-Economic Constitution of the European Union

Raúl Letelier and Agustín José Menéndez (eds)

RECON Report No 10

ARENA Report 7/09, Oslo, December 2009


The process of European integration and the establishment of the welfare state were for a long time regarded as the two sinews of European peace. In the first three postwar decades, they seemed to be mutually supportive. Since the eighties, they have seemed to be on a collision course. How could that be? In line with the overall design of the RECON project, the contributions to this report elucidate the extent to which these two great European transformations are related to the constitutional design of the institutional structure and the decision-making processes of the European Union. Special attention is paid to the relationship between the most prominent part of the economic constitution of the Union (the economic freedoms) and the key socio-economic policies of the Union (from fiscal policy to labour relationships).

In this report, the authors suggest answers to the burning questions of European integration: is the decision-making over macro economic policy, the design of the common market or tax policy democratic enough? Has the process of European integration decreased or increased the democratic legitimacy of such decisions? Are the democratic shortcomings connected to the peculiar and asymmetric way in which the strings of the purse are divided between the Union and its member states?

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