Chapter 1: Assessing economic law under crisis – a framework of analysis
The second term of the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso coincided with the most severe economic crisis in the Union’s history. What started as a credit crunch and sovereign debt crisis grew into a litmus test on the entire European Union. While it still too early to tell if the Union weathered the crisis, one thing appears certain: the unique circumstances have led to myriads of intriguing developments and, subsequently, lively scholarly activity to analyse and explain them. The intention of this edited volume is to contribute to the debate. First of all, we propose to approach the topic from a specific institutional viewpoint: that of the Barroso II Commission. It is important to state from the outset that our intention is not to give an authoritative judgment on whether the policy choices during the crisis have been ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Both the scale and normative tone of such an approach push it beyond our competences and intentions. Rather, our objective is more modest; to critically analyse whether and how EU economic law developed during the Barroso II Commission, taking as a premise the Commission’s central, supra-nationalist (that is integrationist) position in the EU’s institutional framework. Second, the impacts of the crisis were felt in the EU’s overarching legal framework. This is particularly true for economic law because of its obvious close interrelationships with the distressed economy.