The End of History in EU Law and Politics? Challenging Founding Narratives with a New Research Agenda

22 August 2023, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


We reassess two foundational narratives of European legal integration that appeared to corroborate “end of history” claims in post-Cold War international and comparative politics research. The first narrative asserts that EU law was locked-in by a virtuous cycle of cooperative national courts applying international rules and governments increasingly deferring to judges. The second narrative posits that the enlargement of the EU bolstered states’ commitment to the rule of law and the European Commission’s resolve to act as “Guardian of the Treaties.” Drawing on dozens of recent studies and novel data, we demonstrate that judicial and political conflicts continue to destabilize the EU legal order and that the on-the-ground authority of EU law has become more uneven over time. To overcome teleological theories of a more institutionalized and law-abiding EU, we propose a new agenda anchored in the concept of “intercurrence:” the overlapping and often conflictual operation of politically-embedded legal orders.


European Union
EU law
public law


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