In This Issue

Date01 March 2016
Published date01 March 2016
In This Issue
Niglia puts forward a fresh and challenging interpretation of the constitutional
implicationsof the Viking, Laval, Mangold and Kücükdeveci rulings. By meansof focusing
on the argumentative syntax, so to say, of the rulings,the author casts new light on thesub-
stantive implications of the judgments. The European Court of Justice claims to have
decided these cases by means of weighing and balancing on the one hand freedom of estab-
lishment(indeed an operationalization of theright to private propertyand of entrepreneur-
ial freedom) and on the other hand the right to strike. According to Niglia, this
proportionality test is in factan empty formal shell, because the Luxembourgjudges oper-
ate on the assumption of the unconditional primacy of freedom of establishment. This is
only balancingin name. This argumentative form (hierarchical balancing)isfullyimpervi-
ous to specic contextual circumstances. Exactly the oppositeof what proportionalityis to
be about. Resort to this argumentative structure may well lead, as indeed does in the
European case, to a radical redenition of the relation between substantive constitutional
values underthe appearance of an almostbanal exercise in constitutional balancing (banal
because theCourt of Justice seems to be arguing in the same way as nationalconstitutional
courts have done in the postwar period). What is at stake, Niglia concludes, is what is
perhaps the key element of the European fabric: its socio-economicconstitution.
Adamski and Snell offer the reader two contrasting but in many ways complementary
diagnoses and prognoses of the European economic and constitutional crises. Adamski
claims that there was and there remains a trade-off between the legitimacy and the
Europeanisation of economic policy. The more Europeanisation of economic policy
advances, the less legitimate that economic policy is bound to be. This is so because a
singlesupranational economicpolicy is bound to fail (a one-size economicpolicy would
not t any national socio-economic structure). But also, and perhaps mainly, because
economic policy is so deeply enmeshed in a myriad of social and cultural policies that a
centrally decided, pan-Europeaneconomic policy is bound to disrupt the thousands of
contextual choices that dene the different national and regional socio-economic struc-
tures. Snell follows a different approach to reveal the tensions and contradictions at the
core of the new economic governance. The author ponders whether the different objec-
tives that the newarrangements are said to pursue can be achieved simultaneously. In this
way, Snell projects to the European socio-economic constitutionthe thinking experiment
popularized by Dani Rodrik in his The GlobalisationParadox but widely used already by
Trifn in the sixties and seventies (to show the instability inherent to the Bretton Woods
monetary order) and by PaddoaSchioppa in the eighties (the impossible quartet,anex-
panded version of the trilemma, by reference to which the Italian economist revealed the
inconsistencies atthe core of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism,the monetary in-
frastructure of the single market before monetary union).
Dawson and De Witte argue very forcefully that it is high time we stop to ponder
what should be the very purpose of structural reform of the European Union. For
decades, most of the debates on the constitution of the European Union have focused
on the set of institutional and procedural arrangements that would allow the European
Union to achieve a certain set of outcomes, including a rather vaguely dened higher
effectiveness. Such debates presuppose a background consensus on what is to be
European Law Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2, March 2016, pp. 130131.
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, UK
and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA

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