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Seminar series

European constitutionalism as a response to deteriorating state constitutional orders

Alcide De Gasperi Centre Seminar Series

Add to calendar 2023-10-26 15:00 2023-10-26 16:00 Europe/Rome European constitutionalism as a response to deteriorating state constitutional orders Hybrid Sala del Torrino and Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


26 October 2023

15:00 - 16:00 CEST



Sala del Torrino and Zoom

Guy Kelleher, doctoral candidate in public law at the University of Bristol Law School, argues that traditional narratives of European integration no longer capture why European nations continue to pursue deeper political and economic union. Basing his work on constitutional theories of globalisation, he suggests that contemporary European integration is driven by global demands for law beyond the state.

The received narrative of European integration is well-rehearsed. Europe deepened her political and legal union in the aftermath of the Second World War, it is said, in response to the excesses of the state system of the early twentieth century; as a post-war attempt—through economic union—to rebuild and pacify the war-ravaged continent. Indeed, this account of European integration as a sui generis regional endeavour—focused on the local historical imperatives of peace and economic (re)development—is useful for understanding the inception and early vitality of the European project. It casts little light, however, on the recent course of European integration. Why do European societies, almost a century later, continue to enhance their association, despite having achieved unprecedented peace and economic development over many decades?

In this paper I will take constitutional theories of globalisation as a starting point for answering this question. Moving beyond the common account that sees European integration encapsulated in local historical processes, I will seek to explain the European constitutional enterprise as a response to ongoing global, rather than uniquely European, demands for law beyond the state. I will develop this argument in three steps. First, I will trace an overview of the theoretical assumptions that have typically accompanied state-centric forms of political and legal constitutionalism (Part I). I will then discuss how global developments are increasingly bringing those assumptions into question and driving demand for constitutional integration beyond the state (Part II). With these theoretical coordinates in place, Part III of the paper will contemplate some of the principal ways in which the European model seeks to ameliorate the corrosion of state constitutional orders by reconstituting constitutional precepts beyond the state.

Scientific Organiser(s):

Alcide De Gasperi Research Centre


Guy Kelleher (University of Bristol)


Karin van Leeuwen (Maastricht University)

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