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The Constitutionalisation of a Compound Democracy: Comparing the European Union with the American Experience


  • Sergio Fabbrini


Based on an interpretation of the European Union (EU) as a compound democracy, thisarticle argues that the constitutionalisation of the European Union is necessarily acontested process.. A compound democracy is defined as a union of states constituted byunits of different demographic size, political history and geographical interests, and as suchis necessarily characterized by different views on its constitutional identity. The EUexperience is analyzed from the perspective of the United States (US), which is acompound democracy by design. In both cases, constitutionalisation has been an open andcontested process. However, whereas the US process was based on a commonconstitutional framework, at least since the Civil War, and has been ordered by a supermajorityprocedure for settling disputes, the EU lacks a document that embodies a sharedlanguage and a procedure that is able to solve the disputes. As a result, the process ofconstitutionalisation in the EU, contrary to the one in the US, ends up periodically instalemate.

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  • Sergio Fabbrini, 2008. "The Constitutionalisation of a Compound Democracy: Comparing the European Union with the American Experience," The Constitutionalism Web-Papers p0033, University of Hamburg, Faculty for Economics and Social Sciences, Department of Social Sciences, Institute of Political Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:conweb:p0033

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    constitutional change; constitution building; European Convention;

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