Subsidiarity, Democracy and Human Rights in the Constitutional Treaty for Europe
Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 61-80, 2006
20 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2010
Date Written: Spring 2006
The central tasks of a constitution are to establish and limit political authority.This is why a de facto or written constitution is often regarded as a central condition for legitimate rule. A perceived need to enhance the legitimacy of the European Union (EU) also motivated the member states of the EU to initiate a process that led to the creation of the Constitutional Treaty of Europe (CTE), a document that currently receives a mixed reception among the citizenry. In particular, majorities in referendums in France and the Netherlands rejected the CTE.The following reflections concern whether three particular arrangements of this Constitutional Treaty indeed increase the normative legitimacy of the EU. The mechanisms that increase subsidiarity, democracy, and human rights do enhance the legitimacy of the EU, but they are incompletely developed in the document; they stand in some internal tension, and seem partly at odds with standard normative theory. These challenges may also be relevant for other attempts at creating other transnational, legitimate forms of governance at the regional or global levels.
Keywords: European Union, EU, human rights, subsidiarity, democracy, Constitutional Treaty for Europe
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