Event Highlights: The Euro’s Crisis of Democracy with Miguel Maduro

April 22nd, 2012 in Event Highlights

On Thursday, April 12, the Center for the Study of Europe hosted a luncheon discussion with Luís Miguel Poiares Maduro, Visiting Professor of Law and Gruber Global Constitutionalism Fellow at Yale Law School and Professor and Director of the Global Governance Programme at European University Institute. Maduro served as Advocate General at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg from 2003 to 2009. A graduate of the European University Institute and the University of Lisbon, he specializes in European Union law, international economic law, constitutional law, and comparative institutional analysis.

Maduro’s talk, The Euro’s Crisis of Democracy, focussed on the Eurozone crisis and the lack of political will in Europe to address it. Mustering political will, he said, will mean changing the nature of political incentives so that Europe does what Europe needs. Elaborating, he argued the scope and level of politics has not followed the scope and level of political problems in Europe. Member states have yet to grasp the consequences for their democracies of the interdependence generated by economic, social, and political integration. While politics have remained mostly national, problems are increasingly European in scope. There is no “political space” for European citizens to address European issues, hence the “democratic deficit” between national politics and European problems.

The Eurocrisis, Maduro argued, is an opportunity to address both the crisis itself and the democratic deficit underlying it, by expanding the Union’s political power and its democratic legitimacy simultaneously. He emphasized what could be done at the European level, one, by tying the outcome of European elections to the determination of the Commission President, incentivizing citizens to take more interest in European politics and encouraging parties to develop European agendas, and two, by making full use of its regulatory capacities and market clout to reign in market actors that cannot be effectively regulated by the member states.

Later in the afternoon, Maduro gave a second talk on The Promises of Constitutional Pluralism, in which he distinguished between internal and external sources of pluralism in the European legal order and competing normative claims within the EU. The talk was broadcast on WBUR radio’s “World of Ideas” program on Sunday, April 22. [Listen to Miguel Maduro on WBUR]

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