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Towards a Constitution for the European Union

63 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2005  

Jan M. Broekman

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law

Date Written: April 13, 2005


Debates on the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe form a great legal, political and socially inspiring event at an international level. Questions arise how non-European entities relate to the Union or whether this Constitution functions as a model for supranational institutions and an emerging legal system of 25 nations, each with their own Constitution. Those nations are pooling sovereignty and harmonizing their legal systems within the Union's Civil Law family. The unpredictability of referendums or parliamentary ratifications in Member States is not the result of precise knowledge of a text named Constitution, but of social and political beliefs based on ideological judgments in Member States. Inside and outside the Union exists the need for an informed opinion and correct information on the institutional framework embedding the text, which establishes the Treaty on a Constitution of the EU. First, the peculiar structure of the text is studied: this text is subject of a Treaty and named "Constitution" by contract. A "democratic deficit" exists where Union citizens are supposed to be consumers of law and lawmakers - any contract about naming and treating a text as "Constitution" finds its legitimacy in the political competence of the Member State citizens. That throws, secondly, a new light on the "demos-discussion" - since 1995 a debate about the question whether a Constitution must have a people, a "Volk" as its basis. There is no correspondence with any direct expressiveness of a people, so can one speak of "democracy" or should the plural "demoicracy" be used as proposed by Nicolaides? Is the EU Constitution a first "plural and poly-centered" constitution? This challenges the sovereign nation state concept and the image of citizens participating in such a State. A third paragraph focuses education in the Union as a force to change attitude and mentality of EU citizens. To educate means to create a difference through a educated appreciation of others - a necessary condition for the multicultural life in supranational EU institutions, supported by citizens who themselves grew up with emphasis on national goals and values. It is important to observe how materials for virtual education program, for instance paralleling languages and Union data, remain out of use, so that an overwhelming education deficit must be mentioned. A final paragraph explains how many social and political problems in the Union result from a clash between nation-bound and supranational perspectives. Does the EU Constitution survive that clash?

Suggested Citation

Broekman, Jan M., Towards a Constitution for the European Union (April 13, 2005). U Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 05-08. Available at SSRN: or

Jan M. Broekman (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law ( email )

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

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