The European public good and European public goods

Neil Walker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Historically, the EU has focused more on discrete public goods—first peace and prosperity, then other material (eg environmental protection, health and safety) and social goods (eg non-discrimination, education)—than on the pursuit of a singular European public good—a shared commitment to the good of a self-recognized European public. Unlike the state, the EU has displayed the characteristics of ‘teleocracy’ (an association committed to specific ends) more than ‘nomocracy’ (an association committed to living in common). Various conceptions of law’s role in integration were predicated on the view that pursuit of discrete goods would nevertheless in time generate a holistic sense of the common public good. Indeed, this incrementalist expectation and projection has been an important aspect of the supranational constitutional imaginary. The chapter examines the successes and limitations of that approach, and analyses the ongoing difficulties of placing public goods and the public good in a productive relationship supranationally.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Constitutional Imaginaries
Subtitle of host publicationBetween Ideology and Utopia
EditorsJan Komárek
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780192855480
ISBN (Print)9780192855480
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Constitutionalism
  • European Union
  • Law
  • Neo-functionalism
  • Ordoliberalism
  • Public good
  • Public goods
  • Solidarity


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