Although, until very recently, the word constitution was noticeably absent
from the EU's political vocabulary, this formerly taboo word has surfaced in
dramatic fashion. In order to bridge the gap between the institutions of the
EU and its citizens, the European Convention of 2002-2003 developed a single,
integrated constitutional text, which has now been adopted by the heads of all
EU Member States and is winding its way through the politically treacherous
path of ratification.
This remarkable book offers a first in-depth analysis of the Treaty
establishing a Constitution for Europe. As the author constitutional law
expert Jacques Ziller notes, the new Constitution is in many ways a
grand integration of elements from existing European law (most importantly
from the case law of the European Court of Justice), yet at the same time the
new text features groundbreaking innovations with far-reaching implications
for the future of Europe.
Combining legislative history, acute insight, rigorous analysis, and detailed
supplementary information, The European Constitution elucidates the genesis,
growth, and future implications of the EU's constitutional development.
Professor Ziller's treatment examines and illuminates the following
subjects, among others:
the background, composition and internal organisation of the Convention;
profiles of the Convention's principal players the drafting of the
the Constitution's chapters and themes and the problems addressed by each of
the major objections made to the text; and
the procedure for future amendments.
As one of the book's most extraordinary features, the commentary is regularly
accompanied by tables illustrating essential terms and concepts pertinent to
the discussion. A first publication of the book in France and Italy just after
the end of the Convention's work proved such a success that a second edition
was requested as soon as the final text of the Treaty was approved. The fate
of the Constitution will be determined by the vagaries of the ratification
process. Yet whatever the outcome, Professor Ziller has rendered an
indispensable service, as the principles and arguments crystallised in this
moment of Europe's political history will continue to exercise a profound
effect on its future development. And while the breadth and precision of the
knowledge embodied in this work is prodigious, the presentation is clear,
simple, and captivating. It is sure to be useful to anyone interested in the
new European Constitution the uninitiated and the seasoned veteran alike.
Jacques Ziller is a Professor of Law at the European University
Institute in Florence, Italy, on leave from the University Paris I
Panthéon-Sorbonne. He has authored numerous books and articles concerning
various aspects of European Union law, as well as many other legal topics, and
has taught at several major universities and training institutions in France,
Belgium, Spain and The Netherlands. He is fluent in French, English, German,
Dutch, Italian and Spanish. During the European Conventions work, Professor
Ziller served as Counsel to the EU Committee of the Regions and thus
brings an insider's perspective to the evaluation of its work.
Preface; G. Amato. Note regarding citations.
I. Why have a Constitution? 1.
What has changed? A Constitution in the tradition of the Enlightenment. 2.
What hasn't changed? A Constitution without a State. 3. Imparfaite,
II. The European
Constitution: What is it, exactly? 1. A Treaty laying the foundations of a
Constitution. 2. One text instead of two. 3. Four Parts
distinguished according to their content, origins and elaboration. 4.
One text; at least twenty-one languages.
III. The European Convention: A Constitution is born. 1. From a body to a
diverging visions and interests. 2. The Laeken mandate: The Convention
on the future of Europe. 3. A melting pot of diverging visions and
interests. 4. The members of the Convention. 5. Neither a
parliament nor a conference of diplomats. 6. The IGC: A few steps
forward, a few steps to the rear.
IV. What everybody thinks they know 1. but what only the
future can say. 2. what may be surmised 3. Less simple than it
seems. V. The road ahead. 1. Enlargement: Is the
Constitution suitable for a Europe of 25 Member States? 2. Ratification
and entry into force. Related reading.