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Multiculturalism, Europhilia and harmonization: harmony or disharmony?

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Ruth Sefton-Green

Ecole de droit de La Sorbonne, Paris, FR
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Abstract

This paper examines the difficulties of reconciling the values promoted by multiculturalism with the objectives of harmonization. In the event of conflict, examples from English and French law show that harmonization of private law rules does not always achieve its aim of approximating national laws but, on the contrary, often backfires. The question of whether and why these divergences produce Europhile or Eurosceptic positions amongst Member States is addressed. It appears that when maximum harmonisation clashes with multiculturalism this can lead to legal nationalism, whereas minimum harmonization has less negative effects and can stimulate legal experimentation. It is suggested that harmonization requires a mutual listening and learning process in order to accommodate the multiculturalism of Member States and enable Europhilia to flourish in the European Union.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ulr.140
How to Cite: Sefton-Green, R., (2010). Multiculturalism, Europhilia and harmonization: harmony or disharmony?. Utrecht Law Review. 6(3), pp.50–67. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ulr.140
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Published on 18 Nov 2010.
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