31 January 2017
European economic law, neoliberal hegemony, the legal method and the role of critical legal scholarship
European economic law, neoliberal hegemony, the legal method and the role of critical legal scholarship (or: If the European Treaties unambiguously and systematically prescribed policies which area liable to threaten liberal democracy, why should I feel bound by them?) Last year I published a book titled The Pluralist Character of the European Economic Constitution. Put in negative terms, its main claim is that the Treaties do not require European policies to follow any specific socio-economic paradigm. This implies, put in positive terms, that (European and national) legislators, administrators and judges frequently have the option to pursue a broad spectrum of socio-economic policies; the currently observable neoliberal bias of the Union therefore constitutes a political choice, and not a legal requirement.
The book’s claim is based on a historical, functional/teleological and textual interpretation of the Treaties; the claim as to the Treaties’ pluralist character is developed in two historical chapters (on the Treaty of Rome and the “1992” project), an economic chapter (showing that different, conflicting economic views exist on how to achieve the Union’s regulatory objectives) and two doctrinal studies (on internal market law as well as on the SGP and the post-crisis reforms). In this talk, I want to look at the methodical dimension of the claim and discuss its political implications, as well as the role of critical legal scholarship. Finally, it will be argued that the “pluralism” claim can be developed in other areas of economic law as well, which will be illustrated by reference to climate change.
Clemens Kaupa studied history and law at the University of Vienna and at Harvard Law School. Since 2013 he is assistant professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He published two books: the textbook EU Internal Market Law (with Friedl Weiss, CUP 2014) and the monograph The Pluralist Character of the European Economic Constitution (Hart 2016).
7 February 2017
The central claim of the article is that the Court of Justice changes European law by observing the rules of principled incrementalism: it minimizes political conflict and maximizes legal coherence. Namely, the Court can establish a new legal principle, which alters legal reality (sets a strong precedent) but impose a remedy that requires little practical adaptation and thereby minimizes potential conflict. Or, it can pair a remedy that effectively disturbs the social reality while seemingly sticking to the established principles, familiar rhetoric and existing precedents. To test these claims empirically the paper traces the evolution and mutual interaction of linguistic routines, argumentation patterns, and remedies in fifty landmark cases over fifty years. It argues that principled incrementalism enables the Court to strike a workable balance between the demands of the individual case and the demands of the whole body of law, in particular legal coherence and consistency, and preserve its authority to interpret the law over time. The theory explains how the Court, albeit at times lacking popularity and approval, continues to retain sizeable political power and judicial authority.
Urška Šadl comes from Slovenia, and holds a BA degree in law from the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana, a LLM degree in European legal studies from the College of Europe, Bruges, and a PhD in law from the Faculty of Law in Copenhagen. She is currently a professor of law at the European University Institute in Florence, and a Global research fellow at iCourts centre of excellence in Copenhagen. Her research examines various tools and techniques that enable courts to make and change law via case-law and maintain their interpretive authority in the long run. Her main focus is the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
21 February 2017
Joan Costa-Font, Brexit means: ‘Hectic’? Uncertainty in Post-Brexit National Health Service
Can Brexit influence policies in health care where European Union (EU) intervention has been traditionally limited? This article argues – consistently with the ‘Brexit means Hectic’ hypothesis - that Brexit will bring uncertainty to the continuation of the post-Brexit National Health Service as we have known it, increase health care costs, and especially the transaction costs to attract new health technology and high quality staff. The health care systems in the UK will have to adopt tighter budgets on both medical research and health services. This paper discusses on the impact on human resources, both on health and social care workers, as well as those working on Medical research. Such effects in addition to higher costs of Medicines procurement are expected to increase health care expenditures to the point that the National Health Service (NHS) will require some major reforms defying the traditional ‘NHS ring fencing’. Part of the latter, depends on the slowdown of the economy, and the fact that Britain is highly dependent on the medical innovation which is funded by large European funds.
Joan Costa-Font works at LSE as an Associate Professor of (‘Reader’ in) Political Economy, in the Departments of Social Policy and the European Institute. Joan is a CESifo network research fellow, and has been Harkness fellow at Harvard University and visiting fellow at UCL Economics department, Boston College (CRR), Oxford University (IA) and the University of Munich (CES).
7 March 2017
Vassilis Monastiriotis: Revisiting the ‘working of conditionality’: an economic model and a policy interpretation
The literature on EU conditionality has travelled a long way since the early contributions in the late 1990s / early 2000s. Starting from ideas about the ‘transformative power’ of EU conditionality, the literature has moved on to identify a range of facilitating/blocking factors that condition the effectiveness of conditionality and the successful implementation of domestic reforms under the EU leverage. This includes both standard supply-side ‘problems of conditionality’ (moving target; differentiation; problems of consistency, clarity, coherence, commitment and credibility) and wider issues concerning policy mis-fit, adjustment costs, domestic capacities/support, etc. In part owing to the disciplinary origins of this literature, almost invariably conditionality has been farmed in this literature under one (or both) of the following processes: coercion (enforcement, incentives, rewards) and socialisation (learning, lesson-drawing, Europeanisation). This paper argues that, despite its important analytical and policy insights, the literature on EU conditionality has been in some respects limiting, because by focusing on the ‘supply’ of conditionality and the processes of coercion and socialisation it has paid less attention on seeking to understand the ‘technology’ underpinning processes of ‘transformation by means of conditionality’. This is because the literature has lacked a particular focus on two categories which are central in ‘economics’ analyses, namely preferences and technology (production possibilities). To demonstrate this – and, hopefully, to take the debate forward – this paper proceeds in two ways. First, it develops a simple (and, at this stage, diagrammatic) economic model of reforms in the presence of an external leverage, which incorporates explicitly the preferences of policy-makers and the available technologies of reform. The model demonstrates how a sub-optimal equilibrium can emerge endogenously, owing to a double commitment deficit, with the countries under conditionality experiencing a credibility gap by the EU and the EU observing an implementation gap in the countries under conditionality. Second, the paper moves on to examine how the insights of the model relate to policy considerations and developments more recently, across four areas where EU conditionality is applied: the EU’s external relations (ENP), the EU’s pre-accession process (SAA), the EU’s internal conditionality (CVM, Greece, Hungary) and the EU’s funding conditionality (Cohesion Policy).
Vassilis Monastiriotis is an economist and economic geographer by training. He holds a PhD in Economic Geography (2002, London School of Economics, UK) an MSc in Economics (1996, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece) and a BSc in Economics (1994, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece). Before joining the European Institute in 2004 he was Lecturer in the Department of Economics at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has previously worked as Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and the University of Reading and as a Course Lecturer in the Department of Geography at LSE.
23 March 2017
Helen Thompson: Contingency and inevitability: the political economy of Brexit
Placing Britain’s vote on 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union in historical time raises an immediate analytical problem. What was clearly the result of a number of contingencies, starting with the 2015 general election where we can see how events could readily have turned out otherwise and was a shock to the British government that had not prepared for this outcome might also represent the inevitable end of Britain’s membership of the EU seen from the distant future. This paper seeks to take both temporal perspectives seriously. It aims to provide an explanation of the vote for Brexit that recognises the referendum result as politically contingent and also argue that the political economy of Britain generated by Britain’s position as non-euro member of the EU whilst possessing the offshore financial centre of the euro zone and Britain’s eschewal in 2004 of transition arrangements on freedom of movement for A8 accession states made Brexit an eventual inevitability, saving a prior collapse of the euro zone.
Helen Thompson is Professor of Political Economy at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University. She has published articles on the economic and political fallout of the 2008 financial crash and the euro zone crisis in New Political Economy and the British Journal of Politics and International Relations. Her most recent book, Oil and the western economic crisis, will be published by Palgrave later this year.
4th October 2016 (week 2)
Speaker: Abby Innes, Assistant Professor of Political Economy, European Institute, LSE
Title: The Hybrid State in Advanced Capitalism: Making the Case for a New Research Agenda
18th October 2016 (week 4)
Speaker: Helder De Schutter, Associate Professor of Social and Political Philosophy, KU Leuven
Title: Cosmopolitan ownership of English
25th October 2016 (week 5)
Speaker: Orkun Saka, Senior PhD candidate in finance, Cass Business School, City University London
Title: Domestic banks as lightning rods? Home bias during Eurozone crisis
8th November 2016 (week 7)
Speaker: Christoph Mollers, Professor of Public Law and Jurisprudence, Faculty of Law, Humboldt University, Berlin
Title: The Court v the Bank: A retrospective view of the German ECB case
22 November 2016 (week 9)
Speaker: Bojan Bugaric, Visiting Researcher, Centre for European Studies, Harvard University and Professor of Law at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Title: Post-Communist Europe, Neo-liberalism and Authoritarian Populism
29th November 2016 (week 10)
Speaker: Christopher Wratil, PhD student, European Institute, LSE
6th December 2016 (week 11)
Speaker: Gabriel Siles-Brugge, Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick
Title: Taking back control? The discursive constraint on post-Brexit British trade policy