Vereinigte Staaten: Die Europäische Union im Lichte der Zäsuren des Föderalismus in den USA - 10.1628/000389116X14810988437180 - Mohr Siebeck
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Thorsten Kingreen

Vereinigte Staaten: Die Europäische Union im Lichte der Zäsuren des Föderalismus in den USA

Jahrgang 141 () / Heft 4, S. 485-550 (66)

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The European Union is facing a period of profound political transition. Not only does it have to deal with acute crises, it is also being fundamentally challenged as a federation. It is catching up on constitutional discourses that should have taken place a quarter of a century ago, before the Maastricht Treaty became law. Under these circumstances, understanding how caesuras of federalism in other federal systems, such as the US, have led to readjustments will be helpful in comprehending federalism in the European context and enhance the federalist debate in Europe. Not unlike the European Union in the 21st century, the United States of the 19th and 20th centuries was challenged by territorial enlargement and the need of deepening political integration. The erratic development of fiscal federalism in the 19th century and the still controversial implementation of a national social policy during the New Deal in the 1930s demonstrate that centralization and decentralization are first and foremost political processes, which are neither uncommon nor disturbing, but caused by internal and external tensions and crises. Both are relevant to the discussion on the completing of Europe's Economic and Monetary Union. The history of fiscal federalism in the US shows that a federation is not viable without a federal budget. After the Civil War the federal government decided that it would no longer surrender to the bailout demands of individual states. At the same time, the fiscal sovereignty of the individual states was strengthened as the federal government was prohibited from intervening in their budgetary management. As compensation for the bailout ban and the lack of financial compensation between individual states, the federal government set up a financial aid system in the 1960s. This now finances approximately one third of the states' budgets. European Funds, in particular the European Social Fund, which enables structural improvements to employment policy in regions with below-average development, could be the basis for establishing a pan-EU fiscal capacity. Such a fiscal capacity will be indispensable to the Commission's project of developing a social pillar of the Monetary Union. However, the E.U. lacks its own fiscal tools for macroeconomic governance. Instead, it supervises the national budgets in order to stabilize the Economic and Monetary Union. This type of control federalism suffers from a democratic deficit and may affect the budgetary leeway considerably more than the classic fiscal federalism. In theory the Member States retain their fiscal competences, but in practice, the Commission and the other executive stakeholders are now in the legal position to govern every policy area by controlling national budgets. This article argues that the existing Treaties already provide legitimate groundwork for further – but wary – integration. It departs from the idea that the E.U. and its Member States occupy separate worlds of governance with exclusive legal competences. It does not see the E.U. and its Member States as rival and alien governments, but as co-existing partners with common concerns. The core element of this federalist New Deal is a cooperative federalism that is legally safeguarded by substantive judicial authority of the constitutional courts, rather than a formalistic division into mutually exclusive spheres. Furthermore, cooperative federalism will be safeguarded politically by the national parliaments, which should experience a strengthened role in the process of making and implementing E.U. laws.
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Thorsten Kingreen Geboren 1965; 1995 Promotion; 2001 Habilitation; seit 2002 Professor für Öffentliches Recht an der Universität Bielefeld.