Has (downturn-)austerity really been ‘constitutionalized’ in europe? On the ideological dimension of such a claim

Clemens Kaupa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In current debate, it is frequently argued that EU law requires or facilitates the implementation of ‘downturn-austerity’, that is, spending cuts, wage deflation, and tax increases during an economic downturn. More specifically, this ‘thesis of the constitutionalization of downturn- austerity in Europe’ has two dimensions: a (narrow) normative and a (broader) causal one. The former holds that downturn-austerity is a legal obligation under EU law; the latter assumes that the European constitutional framework effects downturn-austerity without neces- sarily claiming a legal obligation. I will argue that the former is incorrect, and yet shapes the hegemonic understanding of EU law. I will maintain that the normative constitutionalization thesis should be understood as an ideological communication, which aims to cloak the significant distributive effects of the crisis measures with an unwar- ranted aura of legal necessity, political coherence, and academic legitimacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-55
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Has (downturn-)austerity really been ‘constitutionalized’ in europe? On the ideological dimension of such a claim'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this