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Cesare Pinelli
Conditionality And Economic Constitutionalism In The Eurozone
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The EU’s approach to conditionality was for long centered on respect for human rights and democracy from third countries, including those of Eastern Europe after the break-up of communist regimes. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, “strict conditionality” instruments were instead adopted for making financial assistance to the Eurozone’s Member States conditional upon their compliance with a fiscal consolidation plan, and reflected the idea that rules should supplant discretionary powers in the conduction of fiscal and economic policy. A first question is whether strict conditionality corresponds to a new paradigm of EU economic constitutionalism, as assumed in the current theoretical debate on ordoliberalism. At this respect, I will shift the attention on the fact that, among the Constitutions of EU Member States, only the 2009 amendments to the German Basic Law on the debt-brake reflect an ordoliberal approach. Such difference reveals a deep cultural divide, that goes beyond these states’ compliance with EU obligations. A further question derives from the emergence of a “rule of law crisis” within various Member States, affecting the maintenance of certain fundamental principles to which all national Constitutions are committed, and that correspond to the “common values” enshrined in Article 2 TEU. Pressure for establishing a model of economic constitutionalism should thus be compared with the reluctance of EU political leaders in confronting with a crisis of the values on which the Union “is founded”. Against such background, the suggestion of making delivery of EU funds conditional upon respect for democracy and the rule of law within the Member States might at least demonstrate that conditionality could exert a different function, that of connecting together the now dispersed paths of EU constitutionalism, namely the economic one and that founded on the “common values”.

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