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The Foundations of the EU as a Polity

Massimo Fichera

In this insightful book, Massimo Fichera provides an original account of European integration as a process. He argues that European constitutionalism has been informed from its earliest stages by a meta-rationale, which is expressed by security and fundamental rights as discourses of power. Employing this descriptive and normative conceptual framework to analyse the development of the EU as a polity, chapters cover significant recent events such as the Eurozone crisis, the refugee crisis, the rule of law crisis, Brexit and the constitutional identity crisis.
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Chapter 5: Reflexive security

Massimo Fichera


The final dimension of security—reflexive or semantic—is examined in the last chapter. What does it mean to be secure for the EU polity? And why should we view the EU not only as a legal system/legal order, but also as a transnational polity? The main argument is that security and crisis should be viewed as strictly interrelated and that the multiple crises should be examined together in order to explain why and how European integration should be pursued. In order to fully understand the nature of the EU's constitutional claims, one should not look at free movement and competition law. Instead, the real focus of EU constitutionalism should be ‘Europe as an AFSJ’ as an example of combination of liberal and republican elements as well as of the EU's coming to terms with highly conflictual areas of sovereignty. From this viewpoint, communal constitutionalism attempts to convert the abstract language of threat, which is intimately connected with the abstract language of universalism, into concrete measures adopted at the local level.

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