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Depoliticized redistributive Decision-Making in Europe – Legality and Legitimacy of the Renewed European Economic Union

The thesis with the working title “Depoliticized Redistributive Decision-Making in Europe – Legality and Legitimacy of the Renewed European Economic Union” explores the changes made to the legal regime of the European Economic Union during the crisis and assesses these from the viewpoint of legal doctrine and legitimation theory. The European Stability Mechanism, the Fiscal Compact as well as the Six Pack and Two Pack have profoundly changed the way Member States’ economic policy is influenced by international and European actors. The thesis analyses the reforms comprehensively. It shows how the different legal acts of supranational and international origin interact. Additionally, it will be assessed how European regulation has reached a new level of impact on Member States’ economic policy. This development is coined with the term “redistributive decision-making”. The changes in the relationship between the European institutions offer a last point of analysis in this chapter. 

Beyond the formal description of the acts a second step will deliberate on the question how redistributive decisions ought to be taken in a democratically legitimate manner. A legal standard of legitimacy based on the codification of European democracy in the European Treaties will be used to analyse the enactment of the different acts. It will be argued that decisions of such an immense impact on welfare redistribution have to be taken supranationally. Insights from the discourse on European democracy support this claim. However, some deficiencies remain in the supranational process; these will be shown.
The legitimacy analysis will not be detached from the more traditional doctrinal assessment. Instead it will be shown that questions of legality ought to consider legitimacy issues in order to come to solutions which support the European democratic process. Exemplary legality discussions from the area will be taken up and resolved in line with these considerations. Issues to elaborate on might, for example, be whether EU institutions can be used outside the traditional EU context or whether certain acts in response to the crisis are in line with the EU’s competences. 

Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor