EU Law Scholarship in Crisis: A Quest for Consistent Theory and Workable Doctrine

von Matthias Ruffert

The spectacular events that shook the European Economic and Monetary Union in the past few years have left their footprints in EU law scholarship. The State debt crisis beginning with the announced threat of Greek default in winter 2009/2010 took away Articles 119 to 144 TFEU from the hands of a distinguished group of experts and incited most of EU legal scholars to take part in a vivid discussion. Maybe it is time to consolidate now. Is this achieved by the two Tuoris’ book? With respect, the answer is probably no.

The central statement of the book is perfectly clear. The European macro-economic constitution is about stability, which means, in Luhmann’s terms, “a structural coupling between economy and law.” (p. 57). Crisis has stirred up that economic constitution so much that: “Legal improvisation and innovative constitutional interpretations – if we are allowed a euphemism – were felt a necessity.” (p. 120). Price stability is replaced by financial stability (p. 183), the ECB “has compromised on price stability” (p. 186). Structural coupling is de-coupled, therefore the authors end: “In sum, we are not very optimistic.” (p. 266).

What is most helpful and interesting to read is the plenitude of arguments against the mainstream – well reflected legal and economic thinking which is by no means “Eurosceptic” or even radical, but legally and also economically/politically sound argumentation. Thus, the authors report the continuous claim that monetary union should have been accompanied by full economic or even political union, but they rightly point out (what is rarely done) that “… the exact meaning and manifestations of the alleged asymmetry tend to remain unclear.” (p. 52) ...

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