The European Constitutional Compromise and the neofunctionalist legacy

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Neofunctionalism, a framework rather than a theory, has long played an important role in EU scholarship. Yet initial versions were overly comprehensive, incompletely specified and, as a result, non-falsifiable. Once concrete claims about the history of the EU are specified more precisely, they tend to be invalid: national preferences rarely result from unintended spillover, supranational entrepreneurs are rarely decisive - findings often disguised by poor theoretical specification and selection bias in EU scholarship. For the study of the EU today, the most important weakness of neofunctionalism is that its focus on 'ever doser union' obscures the emergence over the past decade of a stable constitutional equilibrium - a European Constitutional Compromise. This compromise is unlikely to be undermined by substantive, institutional, or ideological developments over the medium term - because current constitutional arrangements are suostantively effective, institutionally protected, and democratically legitimate. The EU has reached constitutional maturity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-386
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


  • Compromise
  • Constitution
  • Democratic
  • Legitimate
  • Stable


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