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Economic and Social Integration

The Challenge for EU Constitutional Law

Dagmar Schiek

The book draws on a unique content and discourse analysis of all Grand Chamber decisions on substantive EU law since May 2004. It finds the EU’s ‘judicial constitution’ to be more nuanced and more uniform than expected. While the Court of Justice enforces the constitution of integration, it favours economic freedoms under mainly liberal paradigms, but socially embeds constitutionalism in citizenship cases. The ‘judicial constitution’ contrasts with EU Treaties after the Treaty of Lisbon in that their new value base enhances European social integration. However, the Treaties too seem contradictory in that they do not expand the EU’s competence regime accordingly. In the light of these contradictions, Dagmar Schiek proposes a ‘constitution of social governance’: the Court and EU institutions should encourage steps towards social integration at EU level to be taken by transnational societal actors, rather than condemn their relevant activity.
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Chapter 1: Economic and Social Integration

Dagmar Schiek


I. INTRODUCTION In relating economic and social integration to the EU and its law, it is necessary to position legal studies in the context of theories of European integration and Europeanisation, which are mainly developed by social sciences other than legal studies, such as economics, political science and sociology. This chapter first develops this theoretical frame. Next, it will trace the notion of economic and social integration and propose an interconnected approach to these. Speaking about ‘economic and social integration’ is currently not common in European studies. This is in contrast with the original aims of the European Economic Community (EEC), which has now grown into the European Union (EU). Its Common Market (i.e. economic integration) was deemed to contribute to ‘an accelerated raising of the standard of living’ (Article 2 EEC), in particular among workers (Article 3(i) EEC). Accordingly, the founding Treaties pursued a dual aim of ‘economic and social integration’, which warrants the interrelated analysis of both concepts, as I have endeavoured to do here. II. TOWARDS A SOCIETAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE EU AND ITS LAW Economic and social integration are societal phenomena. An interdisciplinary perspective on the European project is warranted to comprehend how these phenomena are related to the EU and its (constitutional) law. Economics, political science and, more recently, sociology compete with legal studies in theorising the EU. In sketching a societal perspective on the European project and its law, the first part of the chapter develops an approach adequate for this book. 1....

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