Habermas’s European Constitution: Catalyst, Reconstruction, Refounding

12 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2019

See all articles by Neil Walker

Neil Walker

University of Edinburgh, School of Law

Date Written: November 20, 2019


Jürgen Habermas has long been one of the EU's most prominent and influential critical friends, engaged as much at the level of legal and political praxis as social theory. In particular, he has a close and complex longstanding interest in the idea of an EU constitution. On the occasion of his 90th birthday, I want to discuss three treatments of the EU constitution located in Habermas's work: constitution as political catalyst, as intellectual reconstruction, and as institutional refounding. We find the different treatments, and the priorities that underscore them, emphasised at different times — partly reflecting changing political circumstances. We also observe some tension between the different approaches. Yet, as someone broadly sympathetic to his overall project, I argue that the best understanding of the Habermasian position, and certainly the most attractive version of that position in today's political climate, involves reconciling all three treatments within a single package.

Keywords: Law, Habermas, EU, Constitution, Refounding

Suggested Citation

Walker, Neil, Habermas’s European Constitution: Catalyst, Reconstruction, Refounding (November 20, 2019). Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2019/36. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3490715 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3490715

Neil Walker (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh, School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

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