Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

constitutional identity Related Abstracts

2 Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Possible Roles of Eternity Clauses in the Member States of the European Union

Authors: Zsuzsa Szakaly

Abstract:

Several constitutions have explicit or implicit eternity clauses in the European Union, their classic roles were analyzed so far, albeit there are new possibilities emerging in relation to the identity of the constitutions of the Member States. The aim of the study is to look at the practice of the Constitutional Courts of the Member States in detail regarding eternity clauses where limiting constitutional amendment has practical bearing, and to examine the influence of such practice on Europeanization. There are some states that apply explicit eternity clauses embedded in the text of the constitution, e.g., Italy, Germany, and Romania. In other states, the Constitutional Court 'unearthed' the implicit eternity clauses from the text of the basic law, e.g., Slovakia and Croatia. By using comparative analysis to examine the explicit or implicit clauses of the concerned constitutions, taking into consideration the new trends of the judicial opinions of the Member States and the fresh scientific studies, the main questions are: How to wield the double-edged sword of eternity clauses? To support European Integration or to support the sovereignty of the Member State? To help Europeanization or to act against it? Eternity clauses can easily find themselves between a rock and a hard place, the law of the European Union and the law of a Member State, with more possible interpretations. As more and more Constitutional Courts started to declare elements of their Member States’ constitutional identities, these began to interfere with the eternity clauses. Will this trend eventually work against Europeanization? As a result of the research, it can be stated that a lowest common denominator exists in the practice of European Constitutional Courts regarding eternity clauses. The chance of a European model and the possibility of this model influencing the status quo between the European Union and the Member States will be examined by looking at the answers these courts have found so far.

Keywords: european integration, constitutional court, constitutional identity, eternity clause

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1 Constitutional Identity: The Connection between National Constitutions and EU Law

Authors: Norbert Tribl

Abstract:

European contemporary scientific public opinion considers the concept of constitutional identity as a highlighted issue. Some scholars interpret the matter as the manifestation of a conflict of Europe. Nevertheless, constitutional identity is a bridge between the Member States and the EU rather than a river that will wash away the achievements of the integration. In accordance with the opinion of the author, the main problem of constitutional identity in Europe is the undetermined nature: the exact concept of constitutional identity has not been defined until now. However, this should be the first step to understand and use identity as a legal institution. Having regard to this undetermined nature, the legal-theoretical examination of constitutional identity is the main purpose of this study. The concept of constitutional identity appears in the Anglo-Saxon legal systems by a different approach than in the supranational system of European Integration. While the interpretation of legal institutions in conformity with the constitution is understood under it, the European concept is applied when possible conflicts arise between the legal system of the European supranational space and certain provisions of the national constitutions of the member states. The European concept of constitutional identity intends to offer input in determining the nature of the relationship between the constitutional provisions of the member states and the legal acts of the EU integration. In the EU system of multilevel constitutionalism, a long-standing central debate on integration surrounds the conflict between EU legal acts and the constitutional provisions of the member states. In spite of the fact that the Court of Justice of the European Union stated in Costa v. E.N.E.L. that the member states cannot refer to the provisions of their respective national constitutions against the integration. Based on the experience of more than 50 years since the above decision, and also in light of the Treaty of Lisbon, we now can clearly see that EU law has itself identified an obligation for the EU to protect the fundamental constitutional features of the Member States under Article 4 (2) of Treaty on European Union, by respecting the national identities of member states. In other words, the European concept intends to offer input for the determination of the nature of the relationship between the constitutional provisions of the member states and the legal acts of the EU integration.

Keywords: EU Law, european integration, constitutional identity, supranationalism

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