Europe Re: the rise of the European reinsurance polity

Which kind of European Union is emerging from the polycrisis? This paper by Affiliate Research Fellow Christian Freudlsperger argues that the EU is gradually becoming a ‘reinsurance polity’. In this system of transnational public reinsurance, European states remain their citizens’ primary insurers against individual and societal risks. As their insurance capacity is repeatedly overstretched by transboundary crises, the EU creates standing resources to provide back-up support. In contrast to federal co-insurance, EU reinsurance is directed towards states, with citizens affected merely indirectly. The paper defines public reinsurance, theorises its emergence and functioning, and provides three illustrative examples from the polycrisis (rescEU, Frontex standing corps, HERA). Reinsurance is a novel path of EU institutional development. Though a compromise among diverging national interests, it moves the EU beyond the regulatory polity without pushing it toward positive state-building. Formulating a pragmatic standard of transnational risk-sharing congruent with demoi-cratic notions of legitimacy, reinsurance could also provide a finalité of integration.

Christian Freudlsperger (10 Feb 2024): Europe Re: the rise of the European reinsurance polity, Journal of European Public Policy, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2024.2314742

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