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THE EU INTERNAL MARKET AND NATIONAL TRADITION AND CULTURE: ANY ROOM FOR MARKET DECENTRALISATION?
The paper explores the issue of national culture and tradition
within the framework of the EU internal market. It presents a
discussion on the legitimacy of European economic integration. The
author takes as a starting point the motto ‘Europe united in diversity’
and discusses the meaning of diversity in the fi eld of the internal market. The paper emphasises the importance of institutional analysis in EU market law and analyses constitutional relations between national and supranational levels of government in the internal market field. Legal practice in the internal market (the case law of the EU Court and legislation) shows a pro-centralistic orientation, within which several aspects of national culture and tradition have been sacrifi ced. However, the Court and EU legislator have not openly discussed different institutional alternatives; instead they have mostly referred to the benefi ts of the established rules for the majority of European citizens. In doing so, they have eroded national regulatory autonomy in the market fi eld and many important aspects of national tradition and culture have been sacrificed for reasons of pursuing an ideal internal market, eg national food and drink laws (Italian pasta rules and German beer production), rules on working days (Sunday trading) and hours (e.g. Spanish siesta), the metrical system, etc. The European process of market law uniformity, however, is contestable when assessed in the light of democratic legitimacy. In this regard, the paper analyses the effects of the principle of subsidiarity on institutional analysis in the fi eld of the EU internal market.
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