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Reading subsidiarity: a critical analysis of interpretations of subsidiarity in the discourse on European Union

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posted on 15.12.2017, 14:29 by Paul S. Green
The concept of subsidiarity has been extensively interpreted in the context of European Union affairs. A significant question which interpretations address in this context is: What is the meaning of the concept? With respect to this question, interpretations have considered the definition, the instrumental role in European Union politics and the historical origins of the term. Interpretations have been consistent in the answers that they have provided to these three aspects of the meaning of subsidiarity, to the extent that a dominant image of the meaning of subsidiarity in European Union affairs has developed. This dominant image states that subsidiarity is a contested concept which represents, through its different definitions, the incompatible interests inherent in the federal debate between Member States, and which originates from both the social philosophy of the Catholic Church and the political ideology of federalism. [Continues.]


Loughborough University, Department of European Studies.



  • Social Sciences


  • Politics and International Studies


© P.S. Green

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.



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