ECPR Standing Group/External
University of Trento, Italy, Trento SGEU Conference
15 - 18 June 2016




The 8th Pan-European Conference on the European Union

 

“The Union’s Institutional and Constitutional Transformations: Stress or Adaptation?”

 

The European Union has been recently undergoing momentous periods of stress due to both internal (Euro, EMU) and external (Libya, Ukraine, refugee) crises. Reactions to these crises have been differentiated, ranging from significant institutional and constitutional transformation to piece-meal adaptation. While the management of the Euro-crisis, the further strengthening of the EMU and, to some extent, surreptitious progress towards a budgetary and fiscal Union have been characterized by landmark decisions which have transformed the institutional and perhaps also the constitutional complexion of the Union, in foreign matters innovations have been less apparent and less dramatic and have mostly occurred along conventional tracks.

 

In and of itself this is nothing new. The life of the EU has been constantly characterized by a marked lopsidedness between powerful internal structuring and weak external engagement. However, never before has this unevenness been more strident. While significant sacrifices of sovereignty are requested of Euro-zone member states in terms of their budgetary decisions (and procedures), their mid-term macroeconomic objectives and their planned structural reforms, in foreign and security matters member states cling to, and possibly even claim back, shares of Westphalian sovereignty. Can these two opposed lines of development proceed any further without causing significant tensions and stress in the entire EU edifice? Can two equally significant aspects of state sovereignty and liberal democracy – the domestic and the foreign – be governed by such disparate institutional arrangements? Will the Union eventually recompose these two spheres or will they be driven further and further apart by dynamics that differentiate it into core and peripheral circles? And can internal regulatory and structural policies alone hold the European project together? Papers addressing these issues from a range of perspectives, not only institutional, are welcome.



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"Nothing in politics is ever as good or bad as it first appears" - Edward Boyle


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