Did Symbolism Sink the Constitution? Reflections on the European Union’s State-Like Attributes

U.C. Davis Journal of International Law & policy, Vol. 14, p. 1, 2008

58 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2010  

Stephen C. Sieberson

Creighton University - School of Law

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

After several years of debate and controversy, in June of 2007 the European Union abandoned its proposed Constitution. On December 13, 2007, representatives of the Member States signed a replacement document, a treaty amendment called the Lisbon Treaty. This new instrument will contain most of the substantive innovations of the Constitution. Furthermore, it will follow the Constitution 's lead in preserving virtually all of the Union 's state-like attributes that had been created under the existing EU Treaties. These attributes include the EU'S legal status, institutions, and other characteristics that closely resemble the characteristics of a typical nation state. However, the Lisbon Treaty will not contain certain state-like terms and symbols found in the Constitution. Chief among these discarded items is the title "Constitution." This article examines the many structural and procedural aspects of the Union that closely mirror those of a nation state. At each point the discussion reflects on the role and utility of these features. Some elements are identified as essential to the EU'S success, others as optional. In the final section the author reviews the Constitution's employment of state-like terminology and its enshrinement of typical national symbols. The author's conclusion is that the inclusion of these largely promotional characteristics was a significant contributor to the Constitution 's downfall.

Keywords: EU Constitution, European Union Constitution, Lisbon Treaty, Treaty of Lisbon, European Union

Suggested Citation

Sieberson, Stephen C., Did Symbolism Sink the Constitution? Reflections on the European Union’s State-Like Attributes (2008). U.C. Davis Journal of International Law & policy, Vol. 14, p. 1, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1628882

Stephen C. Sieberson (Contact Author)

Creighton University - School of Law ( email )

2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
United States

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