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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 5: Economic and Social Integration Under the EU’s Normative Constitution

Dagmar Schiek


I. INTRODUCTION Having established the thrust of the EU’s judicial constitution as evident in Grand Chamber cases from 2004 (Chapter 4), based on the trajectory of the EU’s substantive constitutional law in promoting economic freedoms, furthering equality rights, protecting human rights and relating to democracy (Chapter 3), this chapter first investigates how two other elements of EU constitutional law are positioned between liberal and socially embedded constitutionalism, and thus how they are ordained to meet the challenges of economic and social integration. First, it considers the values, objectives and general orientations announced by the EU’s written constitution as established by the Treaties (II). It then discusses the distribution of competences between the EU and its Member States and regional bodies as well as the role of societal actors within EU governance and as transnational norm builders (III). Finally, it discusses whether these three elements of the EU constitution are in harmony as regards economic and social integration (IV). Finding that there is a gap, deliberations are made as to how it can be closed. The idea of an EU constitution of social governance is explored to this end (V). II. THE EU’S VALUES, OBJECTIVES AND GENERAL ORIENTATION 1. Relevance of Values and Objectives Explicit values are a relatively young element of EU constitutional law,1 which was only introduced with the Treaty of Lisbon. Its predecessors had restricted themselves merely to tasks (which are now grown into objectives). However, these tasks were also based on unwritten values. The tasks of...

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