How the court made a federation of the EU

  • Jean-Michel JosselinEmail author
  • Alain Marciano


We analyze the European institutional integration that took place in the 1950s and 1960s as a two-stage process. Firstly, an explicitly political project aims at establishing a European political community. The project is abandoned in the mid-1950s and political integration stops. At that time, the institutions of the Union take the form of a confederation. In a second stage, because of the failure of the European political community, a legal process of integration driven by the European Court of Justice takes place. This second stage of unification is more centralizing and in effect leads to a federalization of the European institutional structure. The transformation of the political structure of the European Union thus appears to result from the actions and decisions of a legal entity, the European Court of Justice.


European Union Agency theory European Court of Justice Federation Centralization History of the EU 

JEL Codes

D72 H11 K10 N41 



We would like to thank the three anonymous referees for their comments and suggestions on the first version of this article. An earlier version was presented at the 2006 European Public Choice Society meetings in Turku.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de Rennes 1 and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique—CREM (UMR CNRS 6211), Faculté des Sciences EconomiquesRennes cedexFrance
  2. 2.Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne (OMI-EDJ) and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique—EconomiX (UMR CNRS 7166), Faculté des Sciences EconomiquesReims cedexFrance

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