Jean Monnet Center at NYU School of Law


Author: Paul Magnette

Title: Coping with constitutional incompatibilities Bargains and Rhetoric in the Convention on the Future of Europe


While acknowledging that the European Convention was merely dominated by strategic behaviors, like former treaty changes, this paper examines the role played by arguments in the process. It first shows that the Laeken mandate comprised rules which could be used by the majority of the conventioneers to promote a deliberative norm. It then analyses, using Perelman's Treaty of argumentation, the different kinds of arguments used by the conventionneers to solve incompatibilities, and stresses the major role played by the "rhetoric of simplification". It concludes that, although these formalist arguments proved inefficient where questions of power were at stake, the potential long-term effect of this deliberative process should not be neglected.

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