Towards a just Europe

A theory of distributive justice for the European Union

Author: João Labareda

This highly original book constitutes one of the first attempts to examine the problem of distributive justice in the EU in a systematic manner. The author starts by arguing that the set of shared political institutions at EU level, including the European Parliament and the Court of Justice of the EU, generate democratic duties of redistribution amongst EU citizens. Furthermore, he claims that the economic structure of the EU, comprising a common market, a common currency, and a free-movement area, triggers duties of reciprocity amongst member states. He contends that the responsibilities to fulfil these duties should be shared by three levels of government – local, national, and supranational. More specifically, he argues that the EU should act as a safety net to the national welfare systems, applying the principle of subsidiarity. In turn, the common market and the Eurozone should balance efficiency targets with distributive concerns. Concrete policy proposals presented in this book include a threshold of basic goods for all EU citizens, an EU Labour Code, a minimum EU corporate tax rate, and an EU Fund for Global Competitiveness. These proposals are thoroughly examined from the standpoint of feasibility. The author argues that his proposals fit in the political culture of the member states, are economically feasible, can be translated into functioning institutions and policies, and are consistent with the limited degree of social solidarity in Europe. This book is a major contribution to the understanding of how a just Europe would look and what it takes to get us there.

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