Federico Fabbrini, Economic Governance in Europe: Comparative Paradoxes and Constitutional Challenges

Federico Fabbrini, Economic Governance in Europe: Comparative Paradoxes and Constitutional Challenges, OUP, 2015

Introduction: The New Constitutional Architecture of European Governance
Part I: Accident and Force
1: The Paradox of Centralization
2: The Paradox of Judicialization
3: The Paradox of Domination
Part II: Reflection and Choice
4: From Fiscal Constraints to Fiscal Capacity
5: Form Legislative Side-Lining to Legislative Involvement
6: From Executive Federalism to Executive Government
Conclusion: For a ‘More Perfect’ Economic and Monetary Union

  • Provides a timely account of how the Euro-crisis and its aftermath have changed EU law, separately examining its effect on vertical and horizontal relations of power
  • Offers a comparative approach with the U.S.
  • Identifies paradoxical trends emerging in the EU constitutional architecture, and explains the problems that they pose for the sustainability of the EU project
  • Articulates policy · proposals to address the main paradoxes produced by the Euro-crisis and its aftermath and discusses the constitutional challenges towards the implementation of the reforms
  • Evaluates ongoing institutional proposals towards the future of Europe and provides new constitutional ideas to perfect the European Economic and Monetary Union

The Euro-Crisis and the legal and institutional responses to it have had important constitutional implications on the architecture of the European Union (EU). Going beyond the existing literature, Federico Fabbrini’s book takes a broad look and examines how the crisis and its aftermath have changed relations of power in the EU, disaggregating three different dimensions: (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.

The first part of the book argues that, in the aftermath of the Euro-crisis, power has been shifting along each of these axes in paradoxical ways. In particular, through a comparison of the United States, Fabbrini reveals that 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 book makes clear, 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. The second part of the book, therefore, devises possible options for future legal and institutional developments in the EU which may revert these paradoxical trends. In particular, Fabbrini considers the ideas of raising a fiscal capacitiy, restoring the centrality of the EU legislative process, and reforming the EU executive power, and discusses the challenges that accompany any further step towards a deeper Economic and Monetary Union.


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