Constructing a Supranational Constitution

Alec Stone Sweet

in The Judicial Construction of Europe

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780199275533
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602009 | DOI:
Constructing a Supranational Constitution

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The evolution of the European Community (EC) towards a supranational constitution is charted by combining three different perspectives. First, an examination is made of the major features of the integration process since 1959, which argues that the European market and polity developed symbiotically, as the activities of economic actors, organized interests, litigators and judges, and the EC's legislative and regulatory organs became linked, to create a self‐sustaining, dynamic system. Second, the ‘constitutionalization’ of the treaty system is investigated, and the activities of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) surveyed; among other things, constitutionalization secured property rights for transnational market actors, expanded the discretionary powers of national judges, and reduced the EC's intergovernmental character. Third, the relationship between the ECJ and the national courts is considered, focusing on how intra‐judicial conflict and cooperation have shaped the production of specific constitutional doctrines; through these ‘constitutional dialogues’, the supremacy of EC law was gradually achieved, rendering it judicially enforceable. Overall, the chapter situates the development of the European legal system within the overall process of European integration.

Keywords: constitutionalization; discretionary powers of national judges; European Community; European Court of Justice; European integration; European legal system; European legislation; European Union; intergovernmentalism; national courts; property rights; supranational constitution; supranationalism; transnationalism

Chapter.  23715 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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