Creating an Ever Closer Union: The European Court of Justice and the Threat to Cultural Diversity

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Over the past few decades, the European Union has emerged as a powerful economic and political force, the remarkable result of decades of effort spent in the hopes of creating a united Europe. However, the success of those efforts is a double-edged sword, bringing both benefits and potentially detrimental consequences. One of those consequences has received relatively little attention, yet could pose a substantial obstacle to the Union’s continued success. That consequence is the threat to cultural diversity. This Note argues that perceived fears of cultural erosion caused by economic integration tend to foster nationalist sentiments, sentiments that could sap support for the Union’s future endeavors. This Note also examines the history of culture and cultural policy in the European Union, and finds that the European Court of Justice poses the most immediate threat to member state culture through its consistent invalidation of national measures meant to protect culturally-sensitive industries. This Note then offers a solution, a new standard of decision-making that will better allow the Court to balance the economic goals of the Union and the cultural needs of its constituent nations.