Informations and abstract
Keywords: European Union, compound democracy, constitutionalisation, Treaty of Lisbon, institutional reform
Based on an interpretation of the European Union (EU) as a compound democracy, the article argues that the constitutionalisation of the European Union is necessarily a contested process. A compound democracy is a union of states constituted by units of different demographic size, political history and geographical interests, and as such characterized by different views on its constitutional identity. This is also the experience of the other main compound democracy, that of the United States (US), although the latter is a compound democracy by design whereas the EU is by necessity. However, whereas the contested process of constitutionalisation in the US was based on a common constitutional framework, at least since the Civil War, and has been ordered by a super-majority procedure for settling disputes, the EU lacks a document that embodies a shared language and a procedure that is able to solve the disputes. Here is the EU conundrum: it needs a constitution for stabilizing itself, but the divisions between its member states make the approval of such a constitution highly implausible. As a result the process of constitutionalisation in the EU ends up periodically in stalemate.