Constitutionalism and the Enlargement of Europe
23 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2012
Date Written: July 5, 2012
This is an edited Introduction of a new book which will be published by Oxford University Press in August 2012: Wojciech Sadurski, Constitutionalism and the Enlargement of Europe (Oxford 2012). After the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the newly democratized countries of the region joined two main pan-European political and legal structures: the Council of Europe and the European Union. This book shows how the Eastward enlargement of these two structures fostered the 'constitutionalization' both of the Council of Europe and of the EU. Prompted by the enlargement of the Council of Europe and the admission of a number of countries which brought unique and often more substantial problems onto the Court's agenda, the main judicial body of the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, became a quasi 'constitutional court' of Europe. When it comes to the EU, the enlargement (first prospective, and then, actual) has been an important agenda-setter for the constitutionalization of the EU; in particular, for openly placing the issue of fundamental rights on the EU agenda as a legitimate and indispensable matter of concern for the EU. But the 'constitutional synergies' were a two-way street: the accession to both pan-European structures has also affected the development of democratic constitutionalism in CEE states.
Keywords: Constitutional theory, Central and Eastern Europe, post-communism, Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights, European Union, EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, human rights, minority rights, democratization
JEL Classification: K10, K30
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