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European Constitutionalism

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives


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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The Constitution in the European Union. The State of Affairs (Violeta Beširević)



Today, most Europeans believe that the European Union does not have a constitution and that the idea about having one was buried after the Constitution for Europe got double “No” from the French and the Dutch. This view is shared by some academics whose common position is often reduced to a single argument: “no state – no constitution”.1 The German Federal Constitutional Court could not agree more: in its Maastricht and Lisbon decisions it concluded that the European Union did not have a constitution since it did not have demos.2

To explain and defend the opposite stance is the main purpose of this article. I intend to show that EU has un-codified, evolutive and antirevolutionary constitution, which helps connecting the Politics of Messianism with democracy and positions EU in the global world.

As to prove this idea, I will not claim that the European constitution mirrors a national constitution in the sense that it is attributable to ← 15 | 16 → the people, nor that it is a revolutionary product. The reason is simple – European Union is a product of Political Messianism and not of democracy. As Joseph Weiler explains: “in ‘political messianism’, the justification for action and its mobilizing force, derive not from ‘process’, as in classical democracy, or from ‘result and success’, but from the ideal pursued, […]”3 In the case of Europe, the ‘ideal pursued’ was that of integration in order to establish long-term peace and reconciliation among former enemies...

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