A Federal Constitution for the European Union: Some Lessons from United States Constitutional History

Richard J. Sweeney

Research output: Working paperResearch

Abstract

A constitution is more likely to be accepted if it federalizes those issues that arewidely seen as needing complete harmonization. A constitution is more likely to endure if thefederal government does not have powers that are not vital to it but which may alienate somemember states to the point that the federal government loses legitimacy. It appears vital tohave trade policy at the European Union level; for euro countries, monetary policy is alreadyfederalized. It is not clear that common foreign and defense policies are needed; insisting oncommon foreign and defense policies may lead to conflicts within and across member statesthat severely weaken the Union, conceivably contributing to eventual collapse. Insisting onharmonization of commercial codes does not have the destructive potential of attemptingcompletely to harmonize defense and foreign policies; it may, however, lead to needlessconflict that helps drain the reservoir of goodwill that the European Union will need fordealing with other conflicts amongst member states.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
Number of pages63
ISBN (Electronic)x656312709
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Cite this

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A Federal Constitution for the European Union : Some Lessons from United States Constitutional History. / Sweeney, Richard J.

København, 2003.

Research output: Working paperResearch

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AB - A constitution is more likely to be accepted if it federalizes those issues that arewidely seen as needing complete harmonization. A constitution is more likely to endure if thefederal government does not have powers that are not vital to it but which may alienate somemember states to the point that the federal government loses legitimacy. It appears vital tohave trade policy at the European Union level; for euro countries, monetary policy is alreadyfederalized. It is not clear that common foreign and defense policies are needed; insisting oncommon foreign and defense policies may lead to conflicts within and across member statesthat severely weaken the Union, conceivably contributing to eventual collapse. Insisting onharmonization of commercial codes does not have the destructive potential of attemptingcompletely to harmonize defense and foreign policies; it may, however, lead to needlessconflict that helps drain the reservoir of goodwill that the European Union will need fordealing with other conflicts amongst member states.

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