New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

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Dimitry Kochenov and Fabian Amtenbrink (eds.), The European Union's Shaping of the International Legal Order (Cambridge University Press, 2013, Forthcoming)


What is the raison d’être of the European Union? Does it still make sense to ask this question today, at a time of social and economic crisis in Europe? Launched in 1952 as a kind of pilot project of limited economic integration with a view to securing greater peace and prosperity for its Member States, the EU has evolved into something much larger, more complex and more ambitious. This chapter argues, contrary to the recent suggestion of an influential commentator that the EU needs to abandon its ‘messianic’ origins and turn to ordinary process democracy, that the EU’s mission or raison d’être still matters to its legitimacy today. I argue that while the European Union at its origin was primarily inwardly focused on repairing and strengthening a damaged continent so as to deliver internal peace and prosperity, it has over the past decade become equally concerned with its external dimension. The importance of having a relatively unified European economic and political system to counterbalance the influence of existing and rising powers has become a significant part of the EU’s raison d’être today.

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