Constitutionalism and democracy in the EU

Massimo Fichera, Collegium Researcher, TIAS / the Faculty of Law

In my research project, I aim to analyse the phenomenon of constitutionalism beyond the State and more specifically the relationship between constitutionalism and democracy. European constitutionalism is employed here as an example. The idea is to explore the concept of constitutional time and consider how significant this is for the development of the EU as a polity.

Essentially, I analyse constitutionalism beyond the State from the angle of constitutional and legal theory, on the assumption that the dialectic between constitutionalism and democracy is not only unresolved but may be expressed simultaneously as tension and as a promise of renewal. This represents a further elaboration of my previous work on the security of the European project, i.e. a form of political morality that embraces the duality between self-preservation and self-empowerment, change and permanence. Security is thus more than mere stability and ought to be seen as a meta-constitutional rationale that permeates processes of polity-building. As I have argued previously, following the multiple crises of the European Union, for the first time all six dimensions of security have been affected, i.e. spatial, temporal, ontological, popular, epistemic and reflexive.

My current project focuses first of all on the temporal dimension, which looks at EU integration as an ongoing process. Secondly, the reflexive dimension addresses the questions of ‘how to be secure as a polity?’ and ‘what does it mean to be secure?’ Finally, I elaborate the notion of communal constitutionalism, which is supposed to be future-oriented, and stretch out to include future generations. A new form of discursive constituent power (i.e. the power to establish a constitution) is suggested, which is exercised through discourses and therefore combines theories of deliberative constitutionalism with constitutional pluralism. According to communal constitutionalism, a plurality of actors is involved in constituent activity, including courts, supranational institutions, media, scholars and other non-State actors, and levels of decision-making at the local (national and sub-national) level should be promoted.

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