Altneuland: The EU Constitution in a Contextual Perspective
A Conference Organized by
Altneuland: The European Constitutional Terrain
It is in many respects a New Land - for the first time the Union is openly, officially using the word Constitution in its formal self-understanding. But this, in turn, places it, at least lexically, in the age old terrain of constitutionalism which has been around in its modern guise at least since the American and French Revolutions.
Altneuland captures another sense of the current constitutional moment. For some, to judge from the hype, we are at the dawn of a monumental change, historic in its implications. For others, if we were to strike the odd word "Constitution" from the text of the Pending Draft, what we would find is just the latest, quite (but not very) important Treaty revision, in a series of revisions which has characterized the European Union for some time. Indeed, it could be argued, that there is nothing in the content of this Draft to justify the appellation "Constitution," all the more so, after the cannibalism of the June IGC. Not, then, a New Land but Old Hat.
There is no Old Hat in the series of Papers which we present here, the results of a collaboration of NYU Law and Princeton. These are not 'Reports' on the various developments to be found in the Draft which will now go before the European peoples. Practicing lawyers will not reach out to these Working Papers when they ponder the significance of Article X or Y.
We invited the contributors to engage in a reflection au fond, critically to examine the broader and deeper meanings of the process and its resulting text. We then seduced them to New York City and Princeton and once here threw them into a Lion's Den of American and European political scientists, comparative constitutionalists and historians who all had the instruction to go for the jugular. The results, I believe, vindicate the ordeal.
The papers are arranged in three sections. In Part One, we included papers that looked at the project as a whole in a comparative, historical and/or political context. Part Two includes the papers that examined some broad, horizontal constitutional items within the text itself. Part Three is given to papers which look at the architectural, institutional and constitutional landmarks within the text. All repay careful study.
Professor J.H.H. Weiler
Provost Christopher L. Eisgruber
Last updated on November 16th, 2004