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The European Union: confederation, federation or association of compound states?


  • Charles Blankart



The European Union of today is neither a confederation nor a federation, but rather an association of compound states. It is shown that this mixture of two forms of constitutional contracts implies inconsistencies prone to political deadlocks. A Buchanan/Tullock/Rawls approach to a reform suggests a clear choice between either a confederation or a federation. In this paper, however, it is proposed to follow a Hayekian approach in which issue fields are allocated to a confederation or to a federation, respectively depending on the revealed homogeneity of preferences of the citizens across the Member States. Hence both, Council and European Parliament, would remain the central decision makers but with separate tasks. Suggestions are made how to improve their election and their decision rules. The paper should contribute to the debate on reforming the European institutions which emerged after the rejection of the constitutional draft by the French and Dutch voters in 2005. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Blankart, 2007. "The European Union: confederation, federation or association of compound states?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 99-106, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:18:y:2007:i:2:p:99-106
    DOI: 10.1007/s10602-007-9015-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mueller, Dennis C, 1997. "Federalism and the European Union: A Constitutional Perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 90(1-4), pages 255-280, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Knoll Bodo & Koenig Andreas, 2011. "Leviathan Europa – Stärkung der Nationalstaaten und der EU durch konstitutionelle Schranken?," Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 60(2), pages 127-145, August.

    More about this item


    Constitutional economics; European Union; D70;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General


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