This Federal Trust Online Paper examines what is
at stake in the Constitutional Treaty referendum debate in the
UK and elsewhere.
The paper sets out to examine what is at
stake in the Constitutional Treaty referendum
debate in the UK and elsewhere both in the
short- term and in the long-term.
Understandably, the political energies of the
pro- and anti-Constitutionalists are focussed
on the short-term objective of obtaining a
“yes” or a “no” vote, but
this tends to deflect attention away from the
longer-term symbolic implications of a
constitutional founding for the EU. The paper
locates the symbolic significance of the
Constitution in the dual (forward- and
backward-looking) aspects of its role as a
model of political community. It argues that
for the Constitution to provide the catalyst
for an expansive and inclusive forward-looking
conception of political community, the debate
on ratification cannot, as it threatens to do
if short-term calculations prevail, be allowed
to descend into a polar opposition between a
social democratic “statist”
conception of the EU on the one hand and a
reactionary nationalism on the other.
This Online Paper 19/04 by the
Federal Trust was written by Neil Walker,
European University Institute,
to access the paper.