The immediate effects of the Euro crisis have been tamed but the crisis has soured the relations between Southern and Northern Member states for many years to come. Comparative political economy explains the frictions between North and South as a result of different institutional configurations of national economies (Varieties of Capitalism), different interests of capital and labor coalitions (growth model perspective) or ideational traditions (ordoliberal vs dirigisme). We argue that the exclusive focus of these approaches on either, rational institutionalism, interest coalitions or economic ideas obscures that these three factors come together in a long-term evolutionary trajectory that has formed national economic cultures within the Eurozone since the 1950s. We examplify our cultural political economy approach showing empircally how the German and Italian political economies developed in different ways since the end of WWII. In the second part of our contribution we develop a conflicts law perspective offering it as a third way that can mediate between the two extreme positions of Wolfgang Streeck (back to the nation state) and Juergen Habermas (federation) in the debate on the future of the European Union. We show how the culturally grounded diversities of European capitalisms can be accommodated through a conflicts law.

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