Recenzie – Julie Dickson, Pavlos Eleftheriadis (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of European Union Law

Julie Dickson, Pavlos Eleftheriadis (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of European Union Law, Oxford University Press, 2012, 457pp., $145.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199588770.


Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Democracy in the Eurozone

Pavlos Eleftheriadis,  Democracy in the Eurozone (May 15, 2013). WG Ringe and P Huber (eds), Legal Challenges Arising out of the Global Financial Crisis: Bail-outs, the Euro, and Regulation (Oxford: Hart Publishing) (2013, Forthcoming); Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 49/2013. Available at SSRN


In December 2012 Four Presidents of the European Union (of the European Council, the Commission, the Central Bank and the Eurogroup) issued a paper outlining steps for a ‘genuine monetary union’ promising among others better democratic accountability for its institutions. This essay asks if an entity like the European Union – and the Eurozone within it – can indeed become democratic. I distinguish between two approaches to democracy, first as collective self-government or, second, as set of egalitarian institutions. The essay argues that the German Federal Constitutional Court supports the first theory and for that reason is very cautious of the idea of bringing democracy to the European Union. The collective view believes that without a single people, there cannot be self-government. The second theory accepts the primacy of domestic democracy but allows, by contrast, for international institutions of democratic accountability that support domestic democracy. I offer some arguments for this view and conclude that the four Presidents are not mistaken in endorsing the ambition of democratic accountability for the Eurozone. The European Union is a union of peoples. A union of this kind can become more democratic without seeking to become a democracy.

Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Federalism and Jurisdiction

Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Federalism and Jurisdiction in Geert de Baere and Elke Cloots (eds), Federalism and EU Law (Oxford: Hart Publishing 2012) 45-64; Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 6/2013. Available at SSRN


This essay argues that we do not need the idea of federation for an appropriate constitutional interpretation of EU law. Federal States constitute a single scheme of government and jurisdiction on the basis of a coherent set of constitutional principles. The EU is no such thing. The idea of a pluralist legal system or dual sovereignty is equally implausible. It follows also that what Kalypso Nicolaïdis has called ‘federal union’ is not really federal at all. In her account, the union has no single scheme of government and no single framework of jurisdiction. This account is correct, but it suggests a model based on an international recognition of the EU by the constituent States, not a federal model. The EU is a union of peoples under an international framework of justice and legitimacy. To say that it is international is neither to challenge the EU’s moral standing nor to diminish its importance. Arguments to such effect entirely misunderstand the power and legitimacy of international institutions.