The Neo-liberal Constitution:EC Law and History

  • Bernard H. Moss


The EC was founded on a vision of a market economy untrammeled by the social and public regulation arising from or sustained by the nation state. It was a vision much closer to that of the ultra neo-liberal Friedrich Hayek than that of Jean Monnet, putative father of Europe, who initially opposed it as too market-oriented for his compatriots. It was not merely about external trade, but about transforming national domestic regimes for integration in a single competitive market. The drive for an “open market economy with free competition” (Maastricht Treaty, arts. 3a and 102a) was fundamental for employers and other capitalists because it assured the exploitation of labor under optimal conditions for profitability. State regulated or welfare state capitalism was a second best compromise forced on business by exceptional circumstances like war and the mobilization of working-class power. The lineaments for a new competitive market order were traced in the EC’s charter ocuments – the Beyen Plan of 1953, the Spaak Report of 1956, and the Rome Treaty with its provisions, principles, and logic as interpreted and enforced by the Commission and the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The project was neo-liberal rather than simply liberal because it required the intervention of strong executive and judicial EC authority to break the power of the nation state to regulate markets and capital and to enforce the competitive market allocation of resources.


Monetary Union Single Market Common Market Single Currency Qualified Majority Vote 
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© Bernard H. Moss 2005

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  • Bernard H. Moss

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