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(p. 198) 11. Normative Theory and the EU: Between Contract and Community 

(p. 198) 11. Normative Theory and the EU: Between Contract and Community
(p. 198) 11. Normative Theory and the EU: Between Contract and Community

Richard Bellamy

and Claudia Attucci

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date: 22 September 2020

This chapter examines the input of normative theory to European integration theory. It first provides a historical background on social contract theory in Europe, followed by an analysis of John Rawls’s work as a way to explore the contribution of contractarian thinking to the normative dilemmas confronting the European Union. In particular, it considers Rawls’s two principles of justice. It also discusses three approaches that emphasize the centrality of democracy and have informed normative assessments of the democratic credentials of the EU, focusing on the writings of Jurgen Habermas, the national limits to the EU, and the normative position that makes sense of the EU’s character as ‘betwixt and between’ the nation state and a supranational institution. The chapter concludes with an assessment of how enlargement illustrates both the appeal of the normative approach and the difficulties it faces.

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