Mueller on European Federation: A Reply from the Perspective of Australian Federalism
Dennis Mueller has recently made a significant contribution to understanding issues of federalism and confederalism in the European Union--from a particular public choice point of view. He furnishes an important and provocative discussion of the relationship between the decision-making rules embodied in a constitutional convention (or other means of drafting a form of union for constituent states) and the decision-making rules which will be contained in the constitution which is the outcome of that convention. However, Mueller's veiled preference for a certain ideal form of federalism for Europe tends to reduce the parameters of his discussion, and gives his article an unrealistic and narrow focus, despite its ambitious scope. The present article explores some of the latent complexities in the public choice analysis and design of European integration, particularly by drawing on the wider experience of working federations and theory of federalism, using the unique and synthesizing Australian experience as a point of departure. It argues that Mueller's analysis is biased towards the reduction of decision-making costs of European governance, and thus undervalues the external costs that may be imposed through excessive central government. Copyright 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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