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.