Chapter 6: Defining harmonisation
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The European project is a complex machinery, whose functioning can be difficult to grasp for non-expert and lay audiences. Undefined concepts lead to misconceptions, which in turn, exacerbate the communication gap between 'Brussels' and its Member States. The lack of definitions of core principles and concepts of EU law, such as the word 'harmonisation' explains this poor understanding of the law-making process because it allows the word to be used at cross-purpose. While providing a clear-cut definition of the word 'harmonisation' is something that has thus proven profoundly elusive, it is nevertheless possible, when reviewing mapping the meaning of the word in natural language against existing legal provisions and legal literature, to extract its core characteristics. This chapter starts with an examination of the roots of harmonisation, i.e. harmony, before defining it in the EU context. It maps the different elements of the definition against the issues raised in Chapters 2,3, and 4 and against the reality of harmonisation as it occurs in practice (Chapter 5).

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