Skip to main content

Debating Finalité: neo-functional dilemmas and institutional reforms

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. The direct effect of European norms, established in 1963 with the famous Costa versus Enel ruling establishes that national courts are required to implement European law, remitting doubtful cases to the Court’s judgment. A year later, the Court established the supremacy of European law over national ordinary as well as constitutional law, i.e. the principle that national law cannot be implemented in contrast to European law (Grimm 2017, pp. 4, 145).

  2. Dølvik and Martin (2017, p. 3) define a social model as “the constellation of institutions comprising employment relations, social policy, and skill format regimes that structure the supply side of the labour market”, to which employment protection and unemployment benefits can be sensibly added. Thus, a social model is a multilayered concept that includes legally entrenched social rights, relations among representative organisations such as unions and employers’ associations, and governments’ social policies.

  3. “Laval quartet” refers to four CJEU rulings (C-341/05 - Laval un Partneri, 2007 I-11767, C-346/06 - Rüffert, 2008 ECR I-1989, C-319/06 - Commission vs Luxembourg, 2008 ECR I-4323; C-438/05 - The International Transport Workers’ Federation and The Finnish Seamen’s Union, 2007, ECR I - 10779). These cases put in question key pieces of national social legislation, in particular as regards the scope of the right to strike, unions’ liability when collective action represents an undue restriction of the freedom to provide cross-border services (Laval and Viking), the scope of social partners’ wage agreements in public procurement (Rüffert), and the scope of the public policy provision in derogation from the freedom to provide services (Luxembourg). The rulings raised concerns about the compatibility of some key pillars of national industrial relations systems with EU legislation.


  • Baldwin, R., and F. Giavazzi. 2015. Introduction. In The eurozone crisis. A consensus view of the causes and a few possible solutions, ed. R. Baldwin and F. Giavazzi, 18–62. London: CEPR Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bandasz, K. 2014. A framework agreement in the hairdressing sector: The European social dialogue at a crossroads. Transfer 20(4): 505–520.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bücker, A. and Warneck, W. 2010. Analysis and outlook. In VikingLavalRüffert: Consequences and policy perspectives, ed. Bücker A. and Warneck W. ETUI Report 111. Brussels: ETUI, 129–142.

  • Buti, M. 2015. ‘What future for rule-based fiscal policy?’ Paper read at the IMF Conference, Rethinking Macro-Policy III: Progress or Confusion? Washington D.C., 15–16 April, 2015.

  • Buti, M., S. Deroose, J. Leandro, and G. Giudice. 2017. Completing EMU. 13 July 2017 (Accessed 16 April 2018).

  • Chalmers, D., and M. Chaves. 2015. EU Law-making and the State of European Democratic Agency. In Democratic politics in a European union under stress, ed. O. Cramme and S.B. Hobolt, 155–179. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chalmers, D., G. Davies, and G. Monti. 2010. European union law, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Dahl, R. 1989. Democracy and its critics. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • De Angelis, G. 2017. Political legitimacy and the European crisis: Analysis of a faltering project. European Politics and Society 18(3): 291–300.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Degryse, C., and P. Pochet. 2011. Has European sectoral social dialogue improved since the establishment of SSDCs in 1998? Transfer 17(2): 145–158.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dølvik, J.E., and A. Martin. (eds.) 2017. European social models from crisis to crisis. Employment and inequality in the era of monetary integration. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dorssemont, F. 2011. A judicial pathway to overcome Laval and Viking. OSE Research Paper 5, September 2011.

  • ETUC - European Trade Unions Confederation. 2008. Resolution adopted by the Executive Committee of the ETUC at its meeting of 4 March in Brussels, EC.179, 4 March 2008.

  • Eurogroup. 2018. Eurogroup report to Leaders on EMU deepening. Press Statement 738/18, 4 December 2018. Accessed 10 March 2019.

  • Eurogroup. 2019. Term sheet on the budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness (BICC), Press Release, 10 October 2019. Accessed 15 October 2019.

  • European Commission. 2016a. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Towards a reform of the Common European Asylum System and Enhancing Legal Avenues to Europe, Bruxelas, 6.4.2016, COM(2016) 197 final. Acesso 20 dezembro 2018.

  • European Commission. 2016b. Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (recast), COM(2016) 270 final, Bruxelas, 4 May 2016. Accessed 20 December 2018.

  • European Commission. 2017a. White Paper on the Future of Europe. Accessed 10 March 2019.

  • European Commission. 2017b. Reflection Paper on Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union. Accessed 10 March 2019.

  • European Council. 2018a. European Council Conclusions, 28 June 2018. Accessed 10 March 2019.

  • European Council. 2018b. European Council Conclusions, 18 October 2018. Accessed 10 March 2019.

  • European Parliament, DG for internal policies. 2010. The impact of the CJEU judgements on Viking, Laval, Ruffert and Luxembourg on the practice of collective bargaining and the effectiveness of social action, IP/A/EMPL/ST/2009-11, May 2010.

  • Fabbrini, S. 2015. Which European Union?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Feenstra, S. 2017. How can the Viking/Laval conundrum be resolved? Balancing the economic and the social: One bed for two dreams? In A European Social Union after the crisis, ed. F. Vandenbroucke, C. Barnard, and G. De Baere, 309–343. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Ghellab, Y. and K. Papadakis. 2011. The politics of economic adjustment in Europe: state unilateralism or social dialogue? In The global crisis: Causes, responses and challenges, ed. International Labour Organization. Geneva: International Labour Office.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grimm, D. 2017. The constitution of European democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Gustavsson, S. 2014. The need for legitimate opposition and protectionism. In Democratic politics in a European Union under stress, ed. O. Cramme and S. Hobolt, 236–254. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Höpner, M., and A. Schäfer. 2012. Integration among Unequals, MPIfG Discussion Paper 12/05.

  • Lacey, J. 2017. Centripetal Democracy. Democratic legitimacy and Political Identity in Belgium, Switzerland, and the European Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Majone, G. 1998. Europe’s “Democratic Deficit”. The question of standards. European Law Journal 4(1): 5–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Majone, G. 2014. Rethinking the union of Europe post-crisis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Meseberg Declaration. 2018. Renewing Europe’s promises of security and prosperity. Accessed 3 February 2019.

  • Moschella, M. 2014. Monitoring macroeconomic imbalances: Is EU surveillance more effective than IMF surveillance? Journal of Common Market Studies 52(6): 1273–1289.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pecinovsky, P. 2016. Evolutions in the social case law of the Court of Justice. European Labour Law Journal 7(2): 294–309.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pochet, P., A. Peeters, E. Leonard, and E. Perin. 2009. Dynamics of European sectoral social dialogue. Dublin: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.

    Google Scholar 

  • Poiares Maduro, M. 2013. The Charter of Fundamental Rights after its first decade: Legal impact and political consequences. In The long quest for identity, ed. G. De Angelis and P. Barcelos, 221–239. Bern: Peter Lang.

    Google Scholar 

  • Polanyi, K. 1944. The great transformation. New York: Farrar & Rinehart.

    Google Scholar 

  • Raunio, T. 2014. The Role of National Legislatures in EU Politics. In Democratic politics in a European Union under stress, ed. O. Cramme and S. Hobolt, 103–119. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Scharpf, F. 1999. Regieren in Europa. Effektiv und demokratisch?. Frankfurt am Main: Campus.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schütze, R. 2012. European constitutional law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Schumpeter, J. 1942. Capitalism, socialism and democracy. New York: Harper & Brothers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Streeck, W. 2015. Why the Euro divides Europe. New Left Review 94: 5–26.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thielemann, E. 2018. Why refuge burden-sharing initiatives fail: public goods, free-riding and symbolic solidarity in the EU. Journal of Common Market Studies 56(1): 63–82.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Van Parijs, Philippe. 2011. Linguistic justice for Europe and for the world. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • V4 Interior Ministers. 2017. Joint Declaration of V4 Interior Ministers, Budapest, 5 October 2017. Accessed 10 March 2019.

  • Zimmermann, H. 2016. The euro trilemma, or: How the Eurozone fell into a neofunctionalist legitimacy trap. Journal of European Integration 38(4): 425–439.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gabriele De Angelis.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

De Angelis, G. Debating Finalité: neo-functional dilemmas and institutional reforms. Comp Eur Polit 18, 689–706 (2020).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: