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National Constitutional Laws as Manifold Steeplechase for Fiscal Integration

Constitutions
European Union
Jurisprudence
Comparative Perspective
Competence
National Perspective
Eurozone
Member States
Elisabeth Lentsch
Universität Salzburg
Elisabeth Lentsch
Universität Salzburg

Abstract

One of the key elements in the debate on the completion of the EMU is the need for enhancing the common fiscal rule system towards a ‘fiscal union’. The EU is not construed as a federal state. It lacks the competence to collect EU or euro area taxes, to provide for a proper Eurozone budget or treasury or to exercise fiscal power. On the contrary, economic and fiscal policies remain in principle in the hands of the Member States. In reaction to the crisis, several measures were taken at EU as well as intergovernmental level to improve fiscal rules and ensure the stability of the Eurozone. This involves fundamental legal questions significantly impacting on national positions on further integration. Constitutional pre-conditions for fiscal integration are key in shaping and developing the further path of fiscal integration. Touching upon budgetary power as a core prerogative of nation states, this paper shall provide for a comparative analysis on constitutional foundations, debates, and commitments for EMU related legislation and measures. Options, limits, and obstacles within all Eurozone Member States shall be tackled. This includes the pertinent rulings and opinions of national constitutional review bodies. In addition, the role and involvement of national parliaments in the decision-making of crisis-management tools shall be examined. The approach is forward looking, including the feasibility and official national parliamentary stances towards the tabled EMU reform proposals.