Integrating Macroeconomics into the EU Single Legal Order: The Role of Financial Stability in Post-crisis Europe

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction to the Special Section: EMU law and its relevance for the EU legal order. – II. Theoretical premise: studying the EU legal order in the context of European integration. – III. The origin of the autonomous EU legal order: the symbiosis between law and microeconomic integration. – III.1. The creation and development of a self-referential EU legal order. – III.2. Macroeconomic stability beyond the scope of EU law. – IV. Establishing a monetary union through an international treaty: matching law and macroeconomics in EU law within a “Europe of bits and pieces”. – IV.1. The applicability of EU law to the ESCB. – IV.2. The applicability of EU law to microeconomic governance. – V. The irruption of debt relations and the need for financial stability: macroeconomics determining the content and structure of EU law. – V.1. Three debt junctures spurring the need for financial stability. – V.2. The return of teleological interpretation. – V.3. Financial stability as a new overriding objective addressing the mismatch between law and macroeconomics. – V.4. Financial stability consolidating an autonomous and unitary post-crisis EU legal order. – V.5. Integrated administration for a more centralised EMU governance. – VI. Conclusion: financial stability as cornerstone of the post-crisis EU legal order?.

Abstract: This Article follows the trajectory of the EU legal order, from its inception to its current stage, by focusing on the transformations it has experienced resulting from its increasing interaction with macroeconomics. When the Court of Justice declared that a new legal order resulted from the provisions of the Treaty of Rome, its interpretation stemmed from a coherent understanding of the institutional form (indirect administration) and substantive content (microeconomic integration) of European integration. The addition of the macroeconomic layer of integration, with its own institutional form (integrated administration and open method of coordination) but still broadly subject to the same legal order, resulted into a less consistent whole. The crises the Union faced during the last decade tested the resistance of these structures and, although the Court has been consistently interpreting EU law according to the same procedures and techniques without radical deviations, the irruption of financial stability as macroeconomic imperative has rearranged the equilibrium in integration. Now we can argue that institutional form, substantive content and legal order of European integration are again realigned, but instead of resulting from the provisions of the Treaties and from placing the legal rationality of law at the core of the system, financial stability is the rationale coherently arranging them together. The consequences of this rearrangement for the EU legal order are the object of study of this Special Section.

Keywords: EU legal order – macroeconomic integration – financial stability – integrated administra-tion – EMU law – economic constitutionalism.

European Papers, Vol. 6, 2021, No 3, pp. 1367-1396
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/530

* Academy of Finland Research Fellow, Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki,
** PhD, University of Helsinki,


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