Oxford Journal of Legal Studies

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How Can EU Law Respond to Populism?

Mon, 2020-03-09 00:00
AbstractThe rise in Europe of populist movements has created severe anxiety about the stability of the EU legal order. This article argues that, while populist ideas challenge numerous elements of the EU’s constitutional settlement, there exists no fundamental incompatibility between populism and EU law. By comparing its response to populism with attempts by EU law to stabilise its legal order in the face of political contestation arising from other political cleavages, the article discusses three different ways to understand the interaction between EU law and populism. EU law may seek to ‘survive’ the growth of populism by (i) bracketing or insulating its institutions from populist contestation, (ii) accommodating populist ideas or (iii) confronting the constitutional strategies populists utilise domestically. In examining the constitutional foundations of populism and its relation to emerging doctrines of EU law, the article seeks to build a road map of how populist movements might utilise or resist EU law in their development.
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