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Europe in the Republican Imagination


  • Dimitris N. Chryssochoou


This paper makes the case for democratising Europe’s ‘political constitution’ from a republican perspective. Such a ‘constitution’ refers to the norms, principles and procedures of institutionalised governance that constitute the political foundation of the European Union (EU). Although the paper is not a philosophical exercise in the foundations of good governance per se, it links republican views of democracy and constitutionalism with the process of EU polity-building. It is also argues that a well thought out and at the same time consequential process of democratic reform should bring about a purposeful European res publica: a community of equal citizens, whose multiple interactions aim at sustaining a particular normative order based on free public deliberation and active citizenship. Key to the above republican conception of Europe is the notion of ‘civic competence’: the institutional capacity of citizens to be actively engaged in the governance of the polity to which they belong. But it is also a means of incorporating social norms of legitimacy in the EU’s policy performance, as well as of equipping citizens to become agents of civic change - ie, a systemsteering demos within a pluralist order composed of increasingly entangled arenas for action.

Suggested Citation

  • Dimitris N. Chryssochoou, 2002. "Europe in the Republican Imagination," The Constitutionalism Web-Papers p0012, University of Hamburg, Faculty for Economics and Social Sciences, Department of Social Sciences, Institute of Political Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:conweb:p0012

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    constitution building; governance; treaty reform; democratization; democratization; democracy;

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