The history of European integration has been a history of managing interdependence between the Member States and it has been a history of ever greater contestation of the EU's authority. Floris de Witte, LSE, will look at different ways in which these two histories relate to each other.
This event is part of the lecture series 'Law and Justice Across Borders'.
Attendance is free, registration is appreciated. Please send an email to Angela Moisl, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The history of European integration has been a history of managing interdependence between the Member States. The ‘long history’ of European integration suggests that interdependence between states was primarily understood as something that could be overcome through the creation of institutions. The ‘integration through law’ project, likewise, understood interdependence to be central to the integration process. Rather than seeing it as an institutional question, however, integration through law employs interdependence as a justification for the way in which it has depoliticised the process of integration. Finally, in the last decades on integration, it appears that the creation of ‘ever further interdependence’ has been an explicit objective of European integration.
The history of European integration has also been a history of ever greater contestation of the EU’s authority – culminating, of course, in Brexit. This can be explained by the partial nature of EU law (which is more sensitive to individual than communal values), and by the extension of EU competences into redistributive domains. EU law, as such, more and more often dictates the answer to salient political questions. If anything, then, contestation such as Brexit confirms the suspicion held by many commentators that the way we manage interdependence in the EU does not stabilise but destabilises the integration process itself. European integration, in other words, does not tame the externalities of interdependence, but multiplies them.
This paper will look at different ways in which these two histories relate to each other, suggesting that it is difficult to effectively institutionalise contestation in conditions of interdependence.
Floris de Witte is is Assistant Professor at the LSE. His research deals with the interaction between EU law and political theory, with particular emphasis on free movement, the Euro-crisis and the role of the individual in the EU. Floris holds a PhD from London School of Economics and Political Science. He is co-editor of LSE Law Policy Briefing Papers and an affiliated member of the LSE European Institute.