The European Charter - Between deep Diversity and Constitutional Patriotism?

This paper discusses what kind of allegiance the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights might be based upon. Raising the issue of constitutional patriotism, on which similar documents have typically been built in the past, the author argues that recognition of Europe's deep diversity makes a better foundation for allegiance to the Charter.

ARENA Working Paper 05/2003 (pdf)

John Erik Fossum

The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the type of allegiance that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is based on. Charters as Bills of Rights establish or entrench fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law, and the relevant sense of allegiance and attachment is constitutional patriotism. Does the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union rest on constitutional patriotism as its underlying philosophy? Can it contribute to foster such? Europe is extremely diverse. Its sheer diversity may make it hard to reach any sense of commonality, let alone a sense of patriotism, however weak that may be. The question then is to what extent the diversity of Europe is recognised as an element to be promoted and protected – and how such diversity of awareness might affect or shape the Charter? The relevant mode of allegiance that I draw on to respond to this question is the notion of deep diversity. These questions are addressed by looking at the preamble of the Charter, its provisions, and its anticipated and currently envisioned role within the EU, including, in particular, its role and status within the currently working Convention on the Future of Europe.

Tags: EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, European Convention, identity, legitimacy
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM