Chapter 7: Reconceptualising harmonisation
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This chapter promotes an understanding of legal harmonisation which reflects, and a definition which encompasses, the regulatory phenomena which are taking place de facto. It highlights several aspects of the harmonisation process: first, the harmonisation pace is slow and incremental. Harmonisation is not an overnight plunge into the unknown. Second, harmonisation can be relatively flexible in its results but also in its instruments. Finally, the harmonisation process involves a wider range of actors than merely the European institutions. These aspects are discussed against the issues raised in this book, including national sovereignty and autonomy, legal cultures, the involvement of the Member States in the law-making process and ultimately, the phenomenon of Euroscepticism. The objective in reconceptualising harmonisation is to debunks the idea that harmonisation measures are necessarily top-down, passed in Brussel behind closed doors and imposed on the national level. It promotes the vision of the EU as an arena of dialectic harmonisation.

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