Still a Union of deep diversity? The Convention and the Constitution for Europe

What are the achievements of the Convention on the future of Europe? In the light of contrasting constitutional visions, the paper discusses whether the document produced by the Convention should be seen as constitutional treaty or constitution proper. It arrives at the conclusion that no unequivocal judgement can be made; however, the Convention makes certain qualitative leaps away from treaty towards constitutional patriotism.

ARENA Working Paper 21/2003 (pdf)

John Erik Fossum

This paper examines the Convention on the Future of Europe in terms of whether its work bears the imprint of a constitutional treaty or a constitution proper. Two constitutional visions for the EU are presented - deep diversity and constitutional patriotism - and assessed in relation to the existing structure of the EU and the Convention's work and results. It is found that the result is more than mere consolidation. It reflects a further step in the process of forging a viable political entity in Europe. The Convention has taken a number of decisions that appear to weaken the multiple constitutional demoi doctrine associated with constitutional treaty, and to move the EU closer to one based on constitutional patriotism. The Convention's very use of the terminology of constitution could be potentially significant as a rallying call to bring institutional reality in line with constitutional aspirations, although the result is still ambiguous enough as to require a decision on which constitutional aspirations should serve as the 'leitmotif'.

Tags: identity, constitution building, European convention, European identity, democracy
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM