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European Constitutionalism

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

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Edited By Alexandre Dupeyrix and Gérard Raulet

The deep economic crisis that Europe has been facing for several years can be seen as both a cause and a consequence of the political indecision with which the European Community or European Union has been living for so long now. The end-goal of this unique political project has never been clarified. While its objective – to guarantee peace, security, justice and wealth – was certainly explicit from the start and has been repeated in the various treaties underlying the Community or Union, the institutional and political means necessary to attain these goals have so far remained undetermined. In these times of turmoil, this lack of clarity turns out to be a latent defect within the EU.
The issue of European constitutionalism paradigmatically illustrates the conceptual, political and legal difficulties that confront us when we try to define the EU and imagine its possible developments and transformations. It emphasizes one of the paradoxes of the European project: it is unable to develop without constitutionalizing the European legal framework but also unable to find the appropriate manner in which to do so, or gain the support of the European peoples. These difficulties are caused by a variety of historical, conceptual and legal factors, which the present volume attempts to identify and discuss.
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Introduction (Alexandre Dupeyrix & Gérard Raulet)

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Alexandre DUPEYRIX & Gérard RAULET

The deep economic crisis Europe has been facing for several years can be seen as both a cause and a consequence of the political indecision in which the European Community/Union has been living for so long now. The end-goal (the finalité) of this unique political project has never been clarified. While its objective – to guarantee peace, security, justice and wealth – was certainly explicit from the start and has been repeated in the various treaties founding the Community or Union, the institutional and political means necessary to attain these goals have so far remained undetermined. In these times of turmoil, this indetermination turns out to be the latent defect of the European Union.

If truth be told, the European project has always been caught in a series of paradoxes or antinomies that seem to be inherent to it. How, for example, can we build a political entity if the political subject is not yet identified, if there is no such thing as a ‘European people’? How can we have a people of citizens without a political constitution? And how can we have a political constitution without a European people? These antinomies probably have something to do with the teleological nature of the European project. European integration is a process the end of which is not defined in advance. The founding fathers of the European community were well aware of the processual and regulative dimension of the European idea, and they were...

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