Constitutional Challenges within the EU and Beyond

March 14, 2014 - 09:30 - 18:00
Nador u. 13
Event type: 
Event audience: 
CoPolis Project, Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento, Italy
CEU host unit(s): 
Department of Legal Studies
CEU host unit(s): 
Department of Political Science

Constitutionalism in Europe is in turmoil. This is not only because of constitutional implications and dynamics of the European integration project, but also due to important changes in the nature and role of constitutions in European societies (as well as globally) and related shifts in constitutional vocabularies. One way in which current constitutional uncertainty becomes visible is through an increase in constitutional politics, constitutional reform projects (as, for instance, in the cases of the Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Romania, the UK) and even the adoption of a novel constitution (Hungary). Francesco Palermo has written of an age of ‘constitutional acceleration’, that is the ‘intensification of recourse to [the instrument of] revision in order to update the constitution’ (Palermo 2007: 15). Ginsburg and Dixon, more in general, relate the prominence of constitutional change and constitution-making in recent times to the ‘third wave of democracy’ that commenced in the 1970s, and which included Southern Europe and later Central and Eastern Europe, but in a way, in particular from the 1990s onwards, also touched the constitutional design of ‘established’ democratic states (Ginsburg and Dixon 2011: 3). Constitutional dynamics are thus not restricted to new democracies in the making, but also involve established democratic regimes.

The main theme of the conference are the challenges that constitutional democracies in and also beyond Europe face in current times. The first two panels will explore various constitutional reform projects as well as the tendency towards wider civic participation in such reform. The third panel will specifically focus on the relatively new constitutions in Central and Eastern Europe and the particular challenges these regimes face. The fourth panel will discuss distinct challenges to constitutionalism – referring also to (North-)African realities - such as the relation between constitutions and religion, constitutions and ethnic diversity, and plural constitutional regimes.

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