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EU Constitutionalism in Flux: Is the Eurozone Crisis Precipitating Centralisation or Diffusion?

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The Lisbon Treaty was supposed to mark the end of an almost‐decade‐long period of treaty reform. After the tumult of the failed Constitutional Treaty, the settlement it imposed struck a sustainable balance between the competing forces of centralisation and the diffusion that characterise European integration. Yet this constitutional settlement is now threatened by the Eurozone debt crisis and official responses to it, most notably the proposed fiscal compact. A prevalent view regards the crisis as an opportunity to complete the process of political and economic union that the Maastricht Treaty began. However, this article cautions against such a view, which would jettison the post‐Lisbon Treaty constitutional settlement in favour a peculiar kind of German‐led, intergovernmental centralisation. Whether the crisis response measures achieve their stated aims remains to be seen, but the integration project will be reconfigured in the process. Thus, EU constitutionalism is bound to remain in a state of flux.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Social Sciences, La Trobe University, Australia

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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