Chapter

The Constitution of Institutions

Elizabeth Meehan

in The Federal Vision

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199245000
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599996 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199245002.003.0016
 The Constitution of Institutions

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Begins with a brief reference to the constitutional and institutional frameworks of allegiances, identification, and citizenship rights, and goes on to argue that there are grounds for questioning the customary conceptual and political overlap between nationality and citizenship. Some decoupling has taken place in the EU, opening, according to some commentators, the possibility of a new paradigm in citizenship praxis. Thus, the chapter explores Carlos Closa's idea that supranational citizenship has more potential than national citizenship to be democratic, and draws on Joseph Weiler's ideas, which in some respects are similar to those of Closa but differ in respect of the significance of nationality and national identity; Weiler's acknowledgement of national forces is, however, consistent with Closa's suggestion that civil society in the EU is too weak to take advantage of the more democratic potential of supranational citizenship. Both ideas can be used to infer that difficulties in European citizenship may be reinforced by enlargement, not because of the introduction of a further set of nationalities per se into a supranational citizenship system, but because of a new complexity in the principled norms that Closa says have to be present in a site of democratic citizenship. In view of this, there are lessons to be learned from American theories of republican federalism, which, as expounded by S. H. Beer (1993), have much in common with a modern interest among radical democrats in deliberative or dialogic democracy; in this respect, Weiler's ideas about a European public space must be taken seriously

Keywords: allegiances; Carlos Closa; citizenship; citizenship rights; civil society; constitution; democratic citizenship; EU; federalism; identification; institutions; Joseph Weiler; national identity; nationality; republican federalism; supranational citizenship

Chapter.  4269 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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