Volume 50 (2013) / Issue 3
The wide-ranging debate on the responses to the crisis increasingly calls into question the future of the EU as a polity. This article contributes to such discussion in legal scholarship by arguing that the European responses to the crisis since autumn 2008 have already set in motion a number of processes which are reshaping the EU polity. Three important but often misrepresented processes are identified. The first is the emergence of a new EU method of action, which breaks with the historically rooted balance of voices within the EU, while directing it towards a distinct form of reinforced intergovernmentalism. The second process corresponds to the trend to have recourse to arrangements both partly internal and partly external to the EU framework. Such a process opens the way to the autonomization of the EMU, and of the eurozone within the EMU, which endangers the legal and institutional unity of the EU. The third is the transformation of the EMU from a "community of benefits" to a "community of benefits and risk-sharing", which reshapes the traditional construction of the EMU and might prefigure a federal transformation of the EU, but it also raises functional and legitimacy issues. These developments have the potential to undermine prerequisites of the EU as a project oriented towards democratic constitutionalism: they may ultimately lead to a de-institutionalization of the EU; they exhaust the main democratic legitimacy sources of the EU polity; and they undermine the already fragile social embeddedness of EU institutions.
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