06 Apr 2016
M. Ferrera - ABSTRACT The intra-EU mobility of workers/persons (and in particular the latter’s access to the social protection systems of the receiving countries) is becoming an increasingly contentious and polarizing issue and is occupying the center stage in the so-called Brexit debate. The UK government is asking major restrictions of current legislation and other member states are very sensitive to this issue as well. Challenging the principle of free movement is no trivial matter. What is actually put in question are not only the foundational pillars of the single market, but of the EU as such, understood as a single (would-be) polity.The aim of the paper is to offer an analytical framing of this challenge. The next section will provide a brief historical reconstruction of welfare state building at the national level, highlighting the salience of boundaries and of the “bounding-bonding” nexus. It will also discuss the impact of European integration on the intra-EU boundary configuration in the sphere of solidarity. Section 2 will illustrate the state of play as regards mobility, summarizing the findings of empirical research on the economic and financial implications of free movement and of the social security coordination regime. Section 3 argues that –in addition to economic efficiency- the principle/logic that underpins free movement is that of “hospitality”, rather than the more general principle of solidarity. The section then discusses some unintended practical implications that follow from the logic of hospitality and that lie at the basis of the increasing contentiousness around free movement. Section 4 will discuss possible institutional remedies for containing political contention. The underlying assumption is that the preservation of free movement is key for the survival of the EU qua political association/community and that such preservation must be the object of an essentially political (and not merely functional) strategy on the side of EU authorities. The conclusion wraps up.
G. Bistagnino, ABSTRACT - In the past years, the idea of a democratic deficit within the European Union has gained more and more relevance, not only at the academic level, but also at the political one. Indeed, scholars have debated such issue for at least twenty year, and recently it managed to become a prominent topic also outside academic circles. This increasing interest is due by, on one hand, the economicchallenges raised by the crisis and its management and, on the other, by the possibility of exiting the EU membership considered by many member states. As it is well-known, the global financial crises has had a tremendous impact in Europe by showing the vulnerability of existing institutions of the European Union in dealing with economic traumas and economic disparities between member states. Moreover, the perceived technocratic and experts’ handling of the crisis, with new measures drastically reducing member states’ scope for independent fiscal policies (Lord 2012), has worsen the problem. For this reason, “since the banking and sovereign debt crisis, the question of further integration has acquired renewed urgency” (Habermas 2015) and new conceptual tools to address the issue of the EU democratic deficit are needed. This paper aims at contributing to this by addressing the questions surrounding EU’s legitimacy. Indeed, the underlying assumption of this work is that what the European Union needs to secure its political future and overcome the democratic deficit are institutions and procedures apt to claim legitimacy. In particular, the main focus of this paper is the so-called throughput dimension of EU legitimacy (Schmidt 2013). Until recently, the debate about the legitimacy of the EU revolved around the notions of input and output legitimacy (Easton 1965; Scharpf 1999), referring, on one hand, to the responsiveness to citizens’ preferences and demands and, on the other, to 2 successfully solving societal problems. Nowadays, the dimension of throughput has gained a key position and prominent importance. Despite being employed and highly discussed, the idea of throughput has been underdeveloped from a conceptual point of view. There has not been a particularly rich discussion about the conceptual framework of this notion and its relation with the other dimensions of legitimacy. Indeed, it is not easy to understand what throughput is really about because scholars disagree about which processes and procedures fall under this tag and what criteria should govern its evaluation. Moreover, it is also not clear whether the dimension of throughput can be considered genuinely independent, or simply a part of either input or output. The goal of this paper is exactly to fill this gap and provide a conceptual analysis of throughput apt to better understand EU’s legitimacy. The paper is divided as follows: in section 2, I introduce the problem of political legitimacy as a virtue of political institutions and decisions – about laws, policies, norms – made within them. I distinguish between a normative and descriptive approach to legitimacy, making particular reference to the work of Max Weber. Section 3 is devoted to the reconstruction of the debate about EU’s legitimacy. I first attempt to distinguish between input, output, and throughput and, second, to illustrate the different understanding of the dimension of throughput present in the literature. In section 4, I…
J. Hien, ABSTRACT - There has been much talk about ordoliberalism recently. Scholars and the press identify it as the dominant economic instruction sheet for Germany’s European crisis politics. However, by analyzing ordoliberalism only as an economic theory, the debate downplays that ordoliberalism is also an ethical theory, with strong roots in protestant social thought. It is this rooting in protestant social thought that makes ordoliberalism so incompatible with the socio economic ethics of most of the European crisis countries, because their ethics originate in catholic and orthodox social thought. This paper argues that it is the divergence and incompatibility of ordoliberal and southern European social ethics is what makes the European rescue policies so conflictual, and will ultimately render them redundant.
26 May 2015
M. Ferrera ABSTRACT - The European Union – and the Euro-zone in particular- is currently torn by a number of widening fault lines. What is at stake is not only economic and institutional performance, but the very stability / continuity of the Union as a political system. The first and most visible fault line concerns the functioning of EMU and opposes North and South, "core" and “peripheral”, "creditor" and "debtor" Member States. The second line runs from West to East and mainly concerns the free movement of persons, capital and services in the internal market. It pits countries with consolidated welfare and high taxes/contributions against countries with relatively limited welfare, low labor costs and low regulation. The third line is rooted in the institutional asymmetry of the EU system of government, programmatically tilted in favor of market-making and against market correcting policies. The fourth line is, finally, of a vertical nature: “Brussels” (supranational institutions) against national governments and their sovereignty in policy areas deemed crucial for democratic legitimation and social cohesion [...]
WP n.1 - 02/2015 - Ein schlechtgeordnetes Europa: A Neo-Weberian Perspective on the EU and the Welfare State11 Feb 2015
M. Ferrera, ABSTRACT - The nation-based welfare state (NBWS) and the European Union (EU) are two precious legacies of the XX century. Their mutual relationship is however fraught by unresolved tensions (and a potential “clash”), which the recent crisis has been markedly exacerbating. When, how and why did the original “elective affinity” between the WS and the EU spheres start to weaken? Is “reconciliation” possible and how? These questions lie at the centre of current academic and public debates. The WS serves essential economic, social and political functions. But the financing of its programmes strains public budgets and raises sustainability challenges, especially in the wake of growing demographic ageing. The EU (EMU in particular) is in its turn is essential for growth, jobs and macro-economic stability, but tends to undermine the WS’s very institutional foundation: the sovereign right of the state to determine the boundaries, forms and extent of national solidarity. The aim of this paper is to cast new light on such issues by focussing on the intellectual and political logics which have guided WS-building, on the one hand, and EU-building, on the other, and by highlighting the responsibility of these two logics in generating the clash. Drawing on Weber’s insights on the relationship between values, ideas, and politics, the building blocks of a new analytical framework will be briefly sketched, aimed at reconnecting these three elements in the explanation of the current predicament. The paper is organised as follows. The next section presents the topic and summarizes the state of the art of the debate. I will then revisit some key Weberian concepts and theoretical propositions which promise to cast new light on the “clash” problem, moving beyond contemporary neo-institutional approaches. In the subsequent two sections, first the intellectual and then the political logics which have guided the development of the welfare state at the national level and the process of supranational economic integration will be illustrated, with brief historical surveys. The fourth section will offer a re-interpretation of the euro crisis in neo-Weberian terms and will hint at some possible ways out. The conclusion wraps up.