How is a closer union conceivable under conditions of ever more socio‐economic and political diversity? Constitutionalising Europe's unitas in pluralitate

Published date01 September 2018
Date01 September 2018
How is a closer union conceivable under
conditions of ever more socioeconomic and
political diversity? Constitutionalising Europe's
unitas in pluralitate
Christian Joerges
Under the impact of the financial crisis, socioeconomic divergence, even among the members of the
Eurozone, deepened dramatically. European crisis politics therefore sought to impose convergence
through budgetary prescriptions and austerity measures. This essay raises not only normative objec-
tions; it submits that these efforts are bound to generate serious resistance. The followup query is
whether Europe would be better advised to replace its onesizefitsall mantra by policies tolerating
diversity and fostering cooperative problemsolving. To what degree such a return to the united in
diversitymotto of the Constitutional Treaty of 2014 would be economically beneficial is unpredict-
able. It seems highly likely, however, that it could help to overcome the increasing aversion against
the European integration project.
The relationship between the title and the subtitle of this essay requires some explanatory remarks. The main title
may imply an unfortunate dichotomy. In European studies, socioeconomic, cultural and political diversity are widely
perceived as an obstacle to integration, and hence as something that should be overcome on the road to an ever
closer union. This, however, is by no means the message of these pages. Quite to the contrary, we suggest that
the Union would be well advised to live with diversity, that diversity can be a politically sound and economically ben-
eficial alternative to the kind of convergence which the integration through law agenda of the formative period of the
integration process and the crisis politics of the past decade have pursued so rigorously. But our thesis has a prom-
inent precursor, albeit one that remained an unspecified proclamation. United in Diversitywas the fortunate motto
of the illfated Draft Constitutional Treaty of 2004. The motto did not make it into theTreaty of Lisbon. This does not
mean that it is outdated. The times Europe is going through are so hard that we cannot shy away from rethinking the
Professor em. for Law and Society, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin; CoDirector, Centre of European Law and Politics, Bremen;
and Hertie School of Governance, Berlin.
Presented at the conference Europe in Hard TimesWhat's to be Done?,89 February 2018, Tallinn University, Estonia
DOI: 10.1111/eulj.12289
Eur Law J. 2018;24:257267. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons 257

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