Economic Governance in Europe: Comparative Paradoxes and Constitutional Challenges

Federico Fabbrini

Federico Fabbrini (Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen) delivered a talk on his book manuscript 'Economic Governance in Europe: Comparative Paradoxes and Constitutional Challenges'.

The Euro-crisis and the legal and institutional responses to it have had important constitutional implications on the architecture of the European Union (EU). The purpose of the talk – which is based on the ongoing book project – is to offer a broad picture of how relations of power in the EU have changed, considering three different dimension: 1) the vertical relations of power between the member states and the EU institutions: 2) the relations of power between the political branches and the courts; and 3) the horizontal relations of power between the EU member states themselves. Federico Fabbrini will argue that, in the aftermath of the Euro-crisis, power has been shifting along each of these axes in paradoxical ways. In particular, as a brief comparison with the United States helps to reveal, the EU is nowadays characterized by a high degree of centralization in budgetary affairs, an unprecedented level of judicialization of economic questions and a growing imbalance between the member states in the governance of fiscal matters. As the talk will suggest, however, each of these dynamics is a cause for concern – as it calls into question important constitutional values for the EU, such as the autonomy of the member states in taking decision about taxing and spending, the preeminence of the political process in settling economic matters, and the balance between state power and state equality. To address these issues, therefore, the talk will suggest possible options for future legal and institutional developments in the EU, and discuss the challenges that accompany any further step towards a deeper Economic and Monetary Union.