This paper analyses the basic constitutional principles of the European Union in contrast with the autonomous policy-making activity of Member States in light of the global economic crisis. The foundational principles of the EU are responsible for coordinating European integration and the behaviour of Member States. However, when Member States face such unprecedented economic or political challenges as they did in the past years, they might act differently in European policy-making than they usually do. This can easily lead to situations when they disregard the guiding values of the EU and choose to conduct an autonomous, or particularist behaviour. This paper examines, through the example of Hungary's policy-making in the Union, the relationship between the constitutional principles of the EU, more precisely equality, solidarity and loyalty, and particularist Member State behaviour. It argues that although there is room for diversity and decentralization in the EU, as follows from the principle of subsidiarity, a difference should be made between legitimate individual Member State action and illegitimate particularism. This study also states that the locally engineered Member State responses to the crisis cannot avoid taking into account the collective EU interests and it projects that the crisis might help finding the dividing line between legitimate and illegitimate Member State conduct.
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