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Eurolegalism: The Transformation of Law and Regulation in the European Union
Eurolegalism: The Transformation of Law and Regulation in the European Union
By R. Daniel Kelemen
Harvard University Press, 2011, 378 pp
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The EU has developed an adversarial rights-based legal system much like the U.S. one. Kelemen, a political scientist, argues that this is not because Europe copied the United States but because the two have faced similar challenges. The decentralized nature of the EU means that when leaders seek to liberalize markets and enact common regulations, they often must do so by granting individual rights and privileges that will ultimately be enforced by courts. As a result, EU law, like U.S. law, is both transparent and legalistic, formally defined yet subject to constant adjudication. Kelemen traces parallel trajectories in antitrust law, disability rights, and securities regulation. Sometimes resulting from economic interests and sometimes from normative beliefs, the legal system that has emerged in the EU is a complex one firmly grounded in European society. This book is more synthetic than analytic, building on two decades of work by many scholars, but it serves as a useful introduction to the subject. And by demonstrating the flexibility and sophistication of European law, it poses a challenge to skeptics who, perhaps encouraged by recent headlines, believe that the EU is an insubstantial and inessential organization likely to collapse in the face of economic crisis.