More Europe? Law, Rights, and Democracy in Sovereignty-Sensitive Areas of EU Governance

Over the past quarter-century, EU law has expanded dramatically beyond market regulation, and into domains of classic state sovereignty—economic policy, migration, internal security, and constitutional fundamentals at the national level. This has been accompanied by the intense politicization of EU law and policy and has galvanized populist parties across the Member States. This paper, drawn from the conclusion to my edited volume EU Law in Populist Times, argues that the EU law across these sovereignty-sensitive areas demonstrates three common flaws: it is overly complex, with prejudice to the rule law; access to justice (in the European Court of Justice) is inadequate and restricts rights-based challenges to EU policies; and the European Parliament is circumvented by intergovernmental politics. The paper makes related prescriptions for legal simplification; expanded standing in the European Court of Justice; and greater transparency vis-à-vis the European Parliament.