Towards Statehood? The EU's move towards Constitutionalisation and Territorialisation

This paper addresses the longer-term implications of contemporary developments in the EU. The processes of forging a constitution and establishing a closer political unity are put into perspective; it is found that European discourses - the way we talk and conceive of the EU - have taken a qualitative leap towards a more statist conception of the Union.

ARENA Working Paper 21/2005 (pdf)

Thomas Christiansen

The recent period of European integration has witnessed the attempt by elites to formalise the long-standing trend towards a constitutionalisation of the European Union. The paper asks whether this process of constitutionalisation, together with a twin process of territorialisation – the development of the EU as bounded political space – can be seen as a move towards state-building at the European level. In order to address these issues, the paper assesses in turn the significance and the impact each of the two processes may have on the ‘remaking’ of Europe. In this context, the EU's Nordic Dimension, the debate surrounding the Turkish application for EU membership and the evolving Neighbour Policy of the Union are looked at in more detail. By way of conclusion this paper argues that the discourses – rather than the decisions – which have dominated the integration process in recent years, mark something of a departure from the previous ‘post-Westphalian’ path of European integration, and instead point towards a more statist conception of the European Union. It remains to be seen to what extent these discourses will subsequently have ramifications in normative, institutional and policy-terms, and what resistance to the choices implicit in these discourses will have to confront.

Tags: Constitution for Europe, enlargement, polity building, discourse
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM