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Integration among unequals: How the heterogeneity of European varieties of capitalism shapes the social and democratic potential of the EU

  • Höpner, Martin
  • Schäfer, Armin
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    At first glance, the social purpose and the democratic potential of the EU have made progress in the last 15 years. However, this impression is misleading. We argue instead that the social and democratic potentials of the EU are crucially shaped by the heterogeneity of European varieties of capitalism. First, we locate our argument in the integration literature and argue that political-economic heterogeneity shapes not only intergovernmental bargains but also the opportunities for judicial integration. Second, we document the heterogeneity among European varieties of capitalism and how it has increased with each round of enlargement. Third, we show how the heterogeneity of political-economic interests has led governments to opt for autonomy-protecting solutions whenever European initiatives have targeted highly sensitive institutions that constitute their different political-economic regimes. Fourth, we also show that, despite this, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has often overruled such autonomy-protecting measures by extending the reach and scope of the European fundamental freedoms. We conclude, fifth, that the asymmetry between market-enforcing and market-restricting integration is not likely to disappear in the near future, and that the heterogeneity of European varieties of capitalism limits not only the social but also the democratic potential of the EU.

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    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Discussion Paper with number 12/5.

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    Date of creation: 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:125
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    1. Amable, Bruno, 2003. "The Diversity of Modern Capitalism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199261147, July.
    2. Amandine Crespy & Katarzyna Gajewska, 2010. "New Parliament, New Cleavages after the Eastern Enlargement? The Conflict over the Services Directive as an Opposition between the Liberals and the Regulators," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48, pages 1185-1208, November.
    3. Philipp Genschel & Achim Kemmerling & Eric Seils, 2011. "Accelerating Downhill: How the EU Shapes Corporate Tax Competition in the Single Market," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 585-606, 05.
    4. Eichhorst, Werner, 2000. "Europäische Sozialpolitik zwischen nationaler Autonomie und Marktfreiheit: Die Entsendung von Arbeitnehmern in der EU," Schriften aus dem Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung Köln, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, volume 40, number 40.
    5. Caporaso, James A. & Tarrow, Sidney, 2009. "Polanyi in Brussels: Supranational Institutions and the Transnational Embedding of Markets," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(04), pages 593-620, October.
    6. Amandine Crespy & Katarzyna K. Gajewska, 2010. "New parliament, new cleavages after the eastern enlargement? The conflict over the services directive as an opposition between the liberals and the regulators," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/197219, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    7. Alter, Karen J. & Helfer, Laurence R., 2010. "Nature or Nurture? Judicial Lawmaking in the European Court of Justice and the Andean Tribunal of Justice," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(04), pages 563-592, October.
    8. Burley, Anne-Marie & Mattli, Walter, 1993. "Europe Before the Court: A Political Theory of Legal Integration," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 41-76, December.
    9. Dehejia, Vivek H. & Genschel, Philipp, 1998. "Tax competition in the European Union," MPIfG Discussion Paper 98/3, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
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