Handbook on Global Constitutionalism
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Handbook on Global Constitutionalism

Edited by Anthony F. Lang and Antje Wiener

This Handbook introduces scholars and students to the history, philosophy, and evidence of global constitutionalism. Contributors provide their insights from law, politics, international relations, philosophy, and history, drawing on diverse frameworks and empirical data sets. Across them all, however, is a recognition that the international order cannot be understood without an understanding of constitutional theory. The Handbook will define this field of inquiry for the next generation by bringing together some of the leading contemporary scholars.
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Chapter 28: The European Union and global constitutionalism

Jo Shaw


This chapter examines narratives of constitutionalism and the ebb and flow of constitutional ideas and practices within and across the European Union (EU) and its member states from the inception of the treaties to the present day. It seeks to establish to what extent the European Union manifests a ‘constitutional’ legal and political order. It focuses on the contribution of legal rules to developing constitutional structures, as well as the role of ideas in relation to legal rules. The original objectives of the so-called ‘founding fathers’ of European integration concerned the promotion of peace, prosperity and a form of non-nationalist supranationalism. In many respects, the EU has been remarkably successful, given the history of the European continent right through to the middle of the twentieth century. The ‘constitutionalised treaties’ have been at the heart of that success. But now we must pay attention to recent challenges, resulting from the financial crisis, the travails of the Eurozone, problems in the EU’s near abroad, and the arrival of large numbers of refugees at and beyond the external borders of the EU. In an era of national reactions against neo-liberalism and globalisation, the role of the EU and specifically of the Court of Justice of the EU is increasingly under question.

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