Three conceptions of the European Constitution

The paper discusses different ways of perceiving the European Constitution, each carrying implications for debates on its legitimacy. It is argued here that debates on the Constitution must take into account the normative side of the process, drawing the pertinence and evolution of fundamental norms centre stage.

ARENA Working Paper 12/2003 (pdf)

Agustín José Menéndez

In this essay, it is argued that legal and political argument on the European constitution requires putting forward a normative conception of the constitution. Next to the formal and material understandings of the constitution, there is a need for a conception that determines the legitimacy basis of constitutional norms. This has considerable implications for the way in which constitution-making takes place. In particular, a critical normative conception of the constitution would render clear that any legitimate attempt at changing the basic constitutional norms presupposes a reinforced type of legitimacy. That has not yet been met in the European Union, but it might be attained in forthcoming constitutional moments.

Tags: constitution building, European convention, constitutional change, legitimacy
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM