Constitutional Relations in Europe: Paradigmatic Shifts
On 19 and 20 April 2012 H.G. Schermers Fellow Professor Leonard Besselink will organise a workshop on paradigmatic shifts in constitutional relations in Europe.
About the Seminar
European integration in the dual framework of the EU and ECHR has created a plurality of legal
orders which mutually influence each other. The European Union lays claim to be an
‘autonomous’ order of constitutional nature, while the European states who are a member of
the EU lay the same claim. This has created questions concerning the constitutional nature of
the various legal orders, how they relate to each other, as well as concerning the overall
constitutional structure of Europe.
A range of understandings has been put forward in the academic literature to date. These
could be considered to constitute, or at least be based on, a set of ‘constitutional paradigms’
explaining the present constitutional state of Europe.
The extent of the interaction between the legal orders of states brings us beyond the
paradigm of juxtaposed constitutional orders, which are coordinated by public international
law, reflecting the ‘Westphalian’ paradigm. But it would seem that the new paradigm is hard
to define beyond a very general notion of ‘plurality’ or ‘pluralism’.
Probably there is an area of constitutional overlap, which consists of a set of common norms,
for instance, regulating the protection of fundamental rights. The precise contours and limits
of the common area is, however, not uncontested, particularly since some of these norms may
be (and are) considered minimum norms over and above, or next to, which national particular
norms apply. This is typically the case as regards the protection of fundamental rights, but also
in other respects – such as the constitutional institutions of democratic government and
administration – there seems to be little communality beyond a set of principles (e.g. that
there should be democracy and a division of powers).
The aim of the seminar is to bring together a number of international experts in the field to
discuss some of these questions. We propose to focus, firstly, on what the nature of the links
between the various constitutional orders is, and their legal meaning in particular. Secondly,
we propose to address the consequences of this for the study of comparative constitutional
law in Europe. Much literature has taken the topic of constitutional rights in the sense of
classic fundamental rights as the substance around which reflection takes place. Since
democracy would seem to be one of the major challenges of Europe, we would like to suggest
the institutions of democracy as a complementary approach.
About the Programme
The workshop is organised by Leonard Besselink, Professor in European Consitutional Law and H.G. Schermers Fellow at NIAS.
THURSDAY 19 APRIL 2012
9:00- 12:30 Paradigms of constitutional relations in Europe
- Welcome address by Dr. Sam Muller
- Introductory Presentation by Prof. Dr. Leonard Besselink:
Paradigm Shifts: is there a composite constitutional order straddling legal orders of the EU and its Member States? On what understanding can it be ‘constitutional’ in nature?
- Prof. Dr. Peter Lindseth:
Constitutional Pluralism or Administrative Supranationalism? Reflections on the Legal Character of the EU
- Prof. Dr. Mattias Kumm:
The Foundations of Constitutional Authority in Europe
- Dr. Matej Avbelj:
The Paradigms of European Integration: Before and After Constitutionalism.
14:00 – 17:30 Democratic constitutionalism in Europe
- Prof. Dr. Steven Wheatley:
Democracy: The national, the European and the global
- Prof. Dr. Cesare Pinelli:
Systems of government: national identity and European democracy
- Prof. Dr. Deirdre Curtin:
The New Separation of Powers and the EU
FRIDAY 20 APRIL 2012
09:30 - 12:30 The overlap and merger of constitutional orders and its consequences
- Prof. Dr. Constance Grewe:
The overlap and merger of constitutional orders and its consequences
- Prof. Dr. Monica Claes:
The hoax of constitutional pluralism: A vintage view of the plurality of legal
orders and the role of comparative law
- Final reflections
About NIAS Workshops
To stimulate innovative (Dutch) top research within the Humanities and the Social Sciences, NIAS facilitates and finances small-scale, international research workshops, initiated by NIAS Fellows, Researchers at KNAW Institutes or Researchers at Dutch Universities. Workshops take place at the NIAS Conference Building and are for invited participants only. More information on organising a workshop at NIAS can be found here. This workshop has been made possible by a grant of the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law.