The rule of law and liberal legalism in (the post-communist) Europe

Abstract for the conference 30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Rule of Law in the European Union, 14-15 November, The Swedish Network for European Legal Studies, Stockholm (programme – pdf)

1989 opened the possibility to make the Union among the peoples of Europe ever close: to tie them not only through the single market and a nascent monetary union, but to give them a sense of shared polity through a constitutional arrangement. This arrangement, I will explain, was however based on liberal legalism, constitutional ideology that fits a particular version of political economy. It favours freedom through contract and individual entrepreneurship over freedom through politics and collective engagement. The current “rule of law crisis”, as some call it, is in fact a crisis of liberal legalism and the measures adopted by the EU institutions and the ECJ in particular, are more likely to exacerbate it than “solve” it.

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