McGeorge School of Law

Crisis and Democracy: Europe’s constitutional response to the financial and economic crisis

The euro area crisis is a complex blend of financial, economic, political and institutional problems. Over the past years, developments in these interwoven elements have dominated the political and news agenda.

Europe's reaction to these problems was multi-faceted. On the one hand, regulatory measures were taken within the existing institutional framework (e.g. the so called "six-pack" and several proposals for enhanced financial supervision in a European banking union). On the other hand, the Union's response to the crisis included far-reaching institutional amendments outside the existing EU treaty architecture. These treaties on EFSF and ESM as well as the fiscal compact treaty fundamentally alter the way decisions are taken on a European level.

Power is shifted away from the European Commission as the traditional guardian of the Treaty. And also the European Parliament, the EU's only directly elected institution, has virtually limited say in the new « Fiscal Union « . The new center of power lies with the Member states' governments. The "Community method" with its supranational approach, once a cornerstone of European integration seems to be replaced by a more classical intergovernmental method. But can national governments alone provide the necessary democratic legitimacy for far reaching measures regarding budgetary control and fiscal stability? Can national parliaments step in, providing this legitimacy by the scrutinizing their governments' EU policy? What is the new role of old supranational institution like the Court of Justice and the Europeans central bank in this new framework? And, finally, is democracy itself in danger once "markets" demand decisions within weeks that in a deliberative democratic process could normally only be deliver in months or even years?

A part of the McGeorge International Jurist Series.


Gunter Herzig, Professor, University of Salzburg


McGeorge School of Law, Classroom A


Sept. 4, 2012
5 p.m. to 6 p.m.


Registration will open at 4:45 p.m.


World Affairs Council — Sacramento Chapter and the McGeorge International Law Society