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This chapter contextualises the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis and examines current challenges of EU governance in an era of mixed sovereignty. The chapter focuses on the relationship between the crisis and the EU’s long-standing legitimacy challenges. It examines key debates representing the range of views and perspectives on the genesis of the crisis. Driven by domestic attitudes and political imperatives, the crisis debates are demonstrating the highly contested nature of EU policy prescriptions to overcome the crisis. Social tensions and old prejudices, both within and between states, are resurfacing, testing long-standing assumptions about European integration. At the same time, political leaders in the EU and in some member states are rapidly losing the trust of their people as economic hardship and a concomitant rise in populism harden the citizens’ feelings towards them. Fiscal deficits and enduring deficits of democracy and legitimacy are conflating with emerging deficits of solidarity, growth and social justice to present a potentially damning vision of European integration. Renewed faith in the European Union as a politico-economic endeavour with a focus on solidarity, participation and equality is essential if Europe is to avoid disintegration and decline.


Thomas More Law School

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Book Chapter

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