Soft Law and the Rule of Law in the European Union: Revision or Redundancy?
Title: Soft Law and the Rule of Law in the European Union: Revision or Redundancy?
Author: DAWSON, Mark
Series/Report no.: EUI RSCAS; 2009/24
The increasing use in the EU of soft law norms has created an extensive debate over the centrality of law as the principle instrument of European integration. Under a certain understanding of legality – one that sees the function of law as the provision of stable normative expectations - the development of methods like the OMC appears as an explicit threat. By another, the complex nature of the EU polity - and the functional tasks it must carry-out - places an impossibly high burden on any attempt by the EU to model its conception of legality this way. While this seemingly leaves the EU with a stark choice, the very features – the dispersion of normative authority between different national orders, and the need for rapid and iterative regulatory interventions – that have borne soft law also point towards the development of new conceptions of legality and its limits in a post-national setting. Soft law has both empirically challenged law’s place in the integration project, and demanded a re-evaluation of its contemporary meaning.
Subject: European Law; Open Coordination; Rule of Law; Social Policy; Soft Law
Type of Access: openAccess