Which Constitution for What Kind of Europe? Three Models of European Constitutionalism
University College London - Department of Political Science; European University Institute
Legitimationsgrundlagen der Europäischen Union, pp. 117-132, F. Cheneval, ed., LIT, 2006
Predictably, the draft EU constitution has come in for considerable criticism – not least from many of those who had favoured this initiative most. These critics charge the constitution with being too long and complex and in particular for failing either to demarcate clearly the EU’s sphere of influence vis-à-vis the Member States or to simplify European decision-making and render it more democratically accountable to citizens.1 I believe these two common criticisms are misplaced. They reflect two models of constitutionalism, as based respectively on either agreed European norms and purposes or a sovereign European people, which prove inappropriate to the EU. Indeed, the inadequacies and resulting length and complexity of the EU constitution largely stem from the need to modify and qualify these models within the EU context. In fact, the EU already had a constitution that reflected a distinctive third model.2 This combined a neo-republican form of governance with the evolution of a European common law. I shall argue that this third model is
far better suited to the EU’s character as an evolving polity and ought to be improved and enhanced, not replaced.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: EU. Constitutionalism, Republicanism
Date posted: January 3, 2010