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Research lunch with Peter Lindseth

On Monday 20 November, a combined ILS/LRL (Leiden Research Lunch) took place.

Peter Lindseth, professor in the field of International and Comparative Law from the University of Connecticut (USA), presented his recent paper: “The Metabolic Constitution: Legitimate Compulsory Mobilization and the Limits of EU Legal Pluralism”.

In his paper, Professor Lindseth argues that legitimate compulsory mobilization is the crucial element in the political metabolism of a community, converting social and economic resources into work for public ends. This ‘metabolic’ function is the essential element of any genuinely ‘constituted’ public authority. He further argues, that the EU possesses little or no autonomous capacity to mobilize fiscal and human resources in its own right. Consequently, even as the EU has come to enjoy extensive normative-regulatory power , the ultimate authority to mobilize fiscal and human resources in the EU system has remained national. In the EU system, the metabolic function is still distributed among the governing bodies (notably legislatures) of the Member States. This distribution of power has deeply influenced the nature of the European integration process. In Lindseth’s view, the combination of autonomy from, yet dependence upon national forms of ‘constitutional’ government, is crucial to define what the EU’s legal-pluralist regulatory system can realistically achieve. These limits have become especially clear in the various crises that have plagued the European Union in recent years.

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