Reconfiguring the Politics–Law Relationship in the Integration Project through Conflicts–Law Constitutionalism

Authors

  • Michelle Everson,

    Professor of European Law
    1. University of London, Birkbeck College
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  • Christian Joerges

    Research Professor
    1. University of Bremen, Law Department and Co-Director of the Centre of European Law and Politics
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    • Michelle Everson is Professor of European Law at the University of London, Birkbeck College; Christian Joerges is Research Professor at the University of Bremen, Law Department and Co-Director of the Centre of European Law and Politics. We would like to thank Fritz W. Scharpf (Cologne) and Fernanda Nicolà (Washington, DC) for their very helpful comments on the presentation of our views in Berlin and New York, respectively.

Abstract

This paper argues that the relationship between law and politics must be reconfigured within the European Union. Dissecting recent crises in economic, social and political organisation within Europe with reference to the three ‘fictitious’ commodities of Karl Polanyi, we find that law in Europe has contributed to de-legalisation, de-socialisation and disenfranchisement. Moving on to review the potential for law to respond to crisis through new paradigms of conflict resolution as suggested by Ralf Dahrendorf, we find that the steering capacity of law is nevertheless limited if it fails to establish a sustaining relationship with politics. Our conclusions are modest: conflict–law constitutionalism cannot solve Europe's many crises. However, it does represent a new paradigm of law within which relations between European law and European politics might be re-established—a vital step to overcoming crisis.

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