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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

16 - The European Crisis of Economic Liberalism

from Part V - Joining the Dots and the Way Forward


The European Union is caught in a trap; but is this a trap of the European Union’s own making? Following Dani Rodrik’s analysis, the problem might be argued to be akin to the ‘trilemma’ associated with economic globalisation. For as long as the Union fails to overcome its founding functionalism and eschews its own (federal) ‘statalisation’, it will only ever be able to guarantee two out of three cherished notions of economic integration, national sovereignty and democracy. The parings might vary: sovereignty can always be combined with (national) democracy, just as trade liberalisation can be undertaken in a democratic manner (albeit of the Europeanised variety); yet, the simultaneous presence of all three concepts is an impossibility, a simple and inevitable consequence of the effort to move beyond the traditional structures of the nation state in pursuit of a single, integrated European market.