The EU and the Right to Self-Government

Assessing the attempts to forge a Constitution for Europe, this article focuses on the incorporation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. While clearly legitimate to a post-national democracy and the idea of a constitution, rights should nevertheless be right in the sense of resting on a popular-discursive consensus.

ARENA Working Paper 17/2003 (pdf)

Erik Oddvar Eriksen

In this paper, the constitution making process in Europe is assessed with emphasis on incorporating the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Is the Charter a means to reduce the democratic deficit even if it does not fully comply with the notion of people-made law? The EU establishes post-national rights, including fundamental rights of a constitutional type. The focus is on the contribution of fundamental rights to constitutionalism and to cosmopolitan democracy. Rights are necessary for democracy to prevail, but rights have to be right. In Europe, there is a constitution in the making, as the citizens have been assigned rights, but as they have not given themselves the rights explicitly, the validity of the rights may be of a dubious quality.

Tags: fundamental/human rights, EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, constitution building, democracy, legitimacy
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM