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The Federal VisionLegitimacy and Levels of Governance in the United States and the European Union$
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Kalypso Nicolaidis and Robert Howse

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199245000

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199245002.001.0001

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Federalism Without Constitutionalism: Europe's Sonderweg

Federalism Without Constitutionalism: Europe's Sonderweg

(p.54) 2 Federalism Without Constitutionalism: Europe's Sonderweg
The Federal Vision

J. H. H. Weiler

Oxford University Press

Focuses on the European Union, and looks at the promise and possibilities that emerge once the federal vision is liberated from ‘statist’ conceptions of political organization. The author views attempts to transform the European project into one of federal constitutionalism along statist lines as deeply misguided. The first section points out that the constitutional discipline of Europe is in most respects indistinguishable from that of advanced federal states, but with the huge difference that Europe chose not to presuppose the supreme authority and sovereignty of its federal demos. There is then a brief analysis of some of the premises on which the constitutional debate is typically based. The rest of the chapter explains why the unique brand of European federalism represents not only its most original political asset but also its deepest set of values, and offers a normative reading of the European constitutional architecture.

Keywords:   constitutionalism, Europe, European constitution, European federalism, European Union, federalism, normative analysis, statism

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