Revisiting Altiero Spinelli: Why to Look at the European Union Through the American Experience?
EU Federalism and Constitutionalism: The Legacy of Altiero Spinelli, A. H. Trechsel and A. Glencross (eds), Lanham, MD, Lexington Books, 2010, Ch. 3, pp. 35-64
37 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2014
Date Written: 2010
Altiero Spinelli was not a scholar. He was a knowledgeable person, but mainly interested in political action (Graglia 2008). However, he understood, already in 1957,what the mainstream of European studies continues to misunderstand, namely that the experience of European integration has deep similarities with the one which has taken place in the United States. Although Altiero Spinelli was insightful in looking at (the birth of) the EU through the US experience, nevertheless he did not have, in 1957, sufficient historical material for pursuing the comparison to a full extent. In this Chapter, I will try to pursue the comparison between the EU and the US, revisiting Spinelli’s comparative view. For doing that, I need (section 2) to show that the EU may be compared to the US because it is a democratic and constitutionalized polity. On this basis, I will then analyze the American (section 3) and European (section 4) experience with institutional compoundness and contested constitutionalisation. Finally, I will derive (what I consider as) the crucial analytical indication from this comparative exercise, thus redefining Spinelli’s comparative view (section 5).
Keywords: Altiero Spinelli, US federalism, European integration, constitutionalization, contestation
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation