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From European Integration to European Integrity: Should European Law Speak with Just One Voice?

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This article examines whether and how the moral principle of legal coherence or integrity, which has recently been developed further as a response to disagreement in the national legal context, applies to European law. According to the European integrity principle, all national and European authorities should make sure their decisions cohere with the past decisions of other European and national authorities that create and implement the law of a complex but single European legal order. Only by doing so, it is argued, can the European political and legal community gain true authority and legitimacy in the eyes of the European citizens to whom all these decisions apply. Although European integrity is primarily a product of European integration, it has gradually become one of the requirements of further integration. The article suggests that the principle of European integrity would help dealing with the growing pressure for common European solutions under conditions of increasing diversity. It places disagreement at the centre of European politics, as both an incentive and a means of integration by way of comparison and self-reflectivity. It constitutes therefore the ideal instrument for a pluralist and flexible further constitutionalisation of the European Union.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: European Institute, University of Geneva

Publication date: 2004-05-01

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