WHO IS THE GUARDIAN OF THE CONSTITUTION IN THE EUROPEAN UNION?

Bojan Kovačević ; Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Srbia Fulltext: pdf (332 KB), Serbian, Pages 7 – 32

Abstracts Measures taken by the EU’s major decision-makers in order to confront the public debt crisis provide evidence that the EU’s constitutional nature has been changed. This compound political community whose legitimacy was based on the fine balance between the need to establish more European unity and the need to preserve political autonomy of member states, is now gradually transforming into an imperial, centre – periphery model of governance. The author analyses this development in the light of the guardian of the constitution concept, developed in the works of Benjamin Constant and Carl Schmitt. Regardless of changes of socio-historical circumstances, the guardian of the constitution’s fundamental task is to determine the point that must not be surpassed if the legitimacy of a political community is to be maintained. In the context of the European integration process the question “Who is the guardian of the constitution?” has deliberately been sidestepped. That strategy, which has proven to be functionally rather successful, has been pushing the EU towards its current systemic crisis. Long absence of a guardian of the European treaties/constitution has eventually confronted the member states with the choice between refusing to obey the centre’s decisions and conceding of the responsibility for their citizens’ welfare to the European protoimperial order. The empire concept used in this article is normatively neutral, used only as a possible theoretical framework for explaining the new empirical reality of the European integration process.

Keywords Guardian of the Constitution; Master of the Constitution; EU Court of Justice; European Council; EU Crisis; Democratic Deficit; Empire