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EU law and the question of justice

De Witte, Floris (2012) EU law and the question of justice. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis argues that European Union law can serve as an instrument for the extension of the values of justice beyond the nation state. Approaching the question of justice from this perspective, however, presupposes three things: it challenges us to think beyond the contractarian reflex that equates justice with political self-determination by a demos; it demands that we allocate legal authority between the national and European level in accordance with their respective capacity to 'do' justice; and it requires that we construct transnational ideas of solidarity that integrate the different elements into a single, coherent, ethics of justice. This thesis offers all three. It argues that the ethics of justice that is emerging in the European Union focuses on allowing its citizens to live a 'good life', which both requires access to the positive entitlements that emerge from the national welfare states and depends on the capacity of the free movement rights to enlarge the range of available choices for citizens in deciding how to live that life. The stability of this tiered conception of justice, however, presupposes the careful incorporation of the normative assumptions that bind and connect individual citizens in Europe within the reciprocal structures that sustain the national welfare state. This thesis suggests that transnational solidarity can serve as a device for such incorporation. The first part describes a theory of transnational solidarity that distinguishes between the rights that Union citizens accrue under market solidarity, communitarian solidarity, and aspirational solidarity. The bulk of the thesis offers a critical in-depth comparative analysis of the incorporation of the demands of transnational solidarity by the Union legislator and the Court of Justice within the particular context of healthcare, education, social security and social assistance, and labour law.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Floris De Witte
Library of Congress subject classification: K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Supervisor: Chalmers, Damian

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