Back to overview

Dilemmas of European integration: Beyond the Lisbon constitutional settlement

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2014
Author Mendez Fernando,
Project The people's constituent power: referendums on sovereignty issues
Show all

Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)

Book Democracy in the European Union
Editor , Kübler Daniel
Publisher Schultess Verlag, Zurich
Page(s) 102
ISBN 978-3-7255-6998-4
Title of proceedings Democracy in the European Union


In this chapter we address some of the emerging dilemmas of European integration following the most recent constitutional transformations in the EU. To what extent is the constitutional settlement bequeathed by Lisbon up to the job for confronting the challenges of contemporary governance in the EU, especially in the aftermath of the eurozone crisis? In addressing this question the chapter is divided into two substantive parts. Part one deals with some of the basic features of the emerging EU polity. It does so by specifically drawing on comparative federalism to examine those features and draw comparative insights where appropriate, especially from what are known as the five classic federations. The aim is to situate the EU after its latest round of reform, what could be described as the Lisbon constitutional settlement, according to a range of substantive criteria. The Lisbon constitutional settlement then provides the point of departure for interrogating some of the latest developments in the European integration process in part two.1 Here, we focus on some of the dilemmas of integration. The latter, we argue, are being compounded by a series of reinforcing dynamics that are likely to affect the course of integration. Specifically, we argue that the EU is increasingly confronting what can best be described as 'direct democratic dilemma', which relates to the challenge of ensuring system effectiveness while allowing for meaningful channels of citizen participation.