Evangelos Venizelos*

Democratic Legitimacy at National Level and Solidarity between Financially Unequal Member States.

Two Structural Problems of European Integration**

My approach towards fundamental European values ​​and, in particular, towards the pillars of democracy and solidarity, will be somewhat subversive since, apart from a general reference to the values ​​of the European Union, I will deal in particular with two major problems which are linked to these values ​​and constitute structural issues of the European integration:

First of all, there is the democratic legitimacy (at national level) of choices that hinder the European integration and, secondly, the solidarity between Μember States that are economically unequal. I believe that this approach will help us to gradually move from the high level of values ​​to the more specific, practical and demanding level of intergovernmental relations and lasting bargaining at the heart of the European integration.

May 2016

Evangelos Venizelos* 

Statehood and sovereignty: the difficult equilibrium between European Union and Member States in crisis management- Refugee crisis and Brexit**

During this period (first semester of 2016), the EU has to deal mainly with two issues: first, the management of the huge refugee and migration flows that enter the Union from Turkey through the gateway of the Greek maritime borders in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean and, second the referendum about Britain’s future in the EU.

The common denominator of these two issues is the resurgence of the conflict between European integration and the sovereignty of Member States either for conjunctural reasons (arrival of a large number of refugees and irregular migrants) or because this results from the rise of Eurosceptic or openly anti-European views in some Member State in a degree that calls into question the participation in the EU itself (as in the case of the UK). A deeper common denominator is the contestation of the sufficiency, effectiveness and more generally the added value of EU membership and the European integration.

4 February 2016 

The financial crisis that erupted in the eurozone not only affected the EU’s financial governance mechanisms, but also the very nature of state sovereignty and balances in the relations of member states; thus, the actual inequalities between the member states hidden behind their institutional equality have deteriorated. This transformation is recorded in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the member states’ constitutional courts, particularly in those at the heart of the crisis, with Greece as the most prominent example.

It is the issue of public debt (sovereign debt) of the EU member states that particularly reflects the influence of the crisis on state sovereignty as well as the intensely transnational (intergovernmental) character of European integration, which under these circumstances takes the form of a continuous, tough negotiation. The historical connection between public debt (sovereign debt) and state sovereignty has re-emerged because of the financial crisis. This development has affected not only the European institutions, but also, at the member state level, the actual institutional content of the rule of law (especially judicial review) and the welfare state in its essence, as the great social and political acquis of 20th century Europe. From this perspective, the way that the Greek courts have dealt with the gradual waves of fiscal austerity measures and structural reforms from 2010 to 2015 is characteristic. The effect of the financial crisis on the sovereignty of the member states and on the pace of European integration also has an impact on European foreign and security policy, and the correlations between the political forces at both the national and European level, thus producing even more intense pressures on European social democracy. In light of the experience of the financial crisis, the final question is whether the nation state (given the large real inequalities among the EU member states) currently functions as a brake or as an engine for future European integration.

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Revue Française de Droit Constitutionnel 51, 2002, σελ. 515-536

  • Jahrbuch des öffentlichen Rechts der Gegenwart, Neue Folge/ Band 51, Mohr Siebeck, 2003, σελ. 513-530 
  • European Review of Public Law / Revue Européenne de Droit Public 13.4, winter 2001, σελ. 1291-1316

G. Dimitrakopoulos & G. Kremlis (eds), A New Constitutional Settlement for the European People, Ant. N. Sakkoulas, 2004. pp. 33-47

G. Amato, G. Braibant. E. Venizelos (επιμ.), The Constitutional Revision in Today’s Europe, Esperia Publications, Λονδίνο, 2002, 30 επ., σελ. 25-39

[The political party in the age of globalisation – The perspective of the open party] 

D. Tsatsos, E. Venizelos & X. Contiades (επιμ.), Political Parties in the 21st Century, Bruylant & Ant. N. Sakkoulas, 2004

 P. Häberle, M. Morlok & V. Skouris (επιμ.), Festschrift für Dimitris Th. Tsatsos, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 2003, σελ. 690-702