Europe's Economic Constitution in Crisis
The European Union is in troubled waters. Its original reliance on law as the object and agent of the integration project and the "economic constitution" which Economic and Monetary Union as accomplished by the Maastricht Treaty were expected to complete proved to be unsustainable. Following the financial and the sovereign debt crises, Economic and Monetary Union with its commitments to price stability and monetary politics is perceived as a failed construction precisely because of its reliance on inflexible rules. The European crisis management seeks to compensate for these failures by means of regulatory machinery which disregards the European order of competences, dis-empowers national institutions, burdens, in particular, Southern Europe with austerity measures; it establishes pan-European commitments to budgetary discipline and macroeconomic balancing. The ideal of a legal ordering of the European economy is thus abolished while the economic and social prospects of these efforts seem gloomy and the Union's political legitimacy becomes precarious. The present critical constellation is addressed in a fictitious dispute between Carl Schmitt and JŸrgen Habermas, in which a number of Schmittian notions seem alarmingly realistic. The essay pleads for a more modest Europe committing itself to "unity in diversity," the motto of the ill-fated Constitutional Treaty of 2003.
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