Sovereignty Challenges for the Evolutionary and Composite European Constitution

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Engaging with Leonard Besselink’s composite and evolutionary conceptualisation of the European Union, this piece focuses on one of his more normative suggestions. Namely, the idea that understanding the European Union within composite and evolutionary contours would facilitate European integration given the flexibility and inclusivity of this focus vis-à-vis European Union member states’ constitutional diversity. I make three contentions related to this topic. Firstly, that in the current political constellation the virtues of inclusivity and flexibility, which are Leonard’s reasons to merit these constitutional archetypes, need to be re-assessed in the light of the more contemporary goal of enabling the European Union to compete with the far-right’s attempts at rearticulating a retreat toward national sovereignty. Secondly, that it is unclear whether the European Union can compete with the far-right within frameworks that remit to the Nation-State. This stems from the European Union’s systemic weak political capacity other than one based on market ruling, which coincidentally is an important reason to explain the rise of these forces. Finally, that only a European Republic can abate twentieth-century sovereignty and lead Europe towards a sustainable future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiber Amicorum Besselink
Subtitle of host publicationCapita Composita in European and Dutch Constitutional Law
EditorsNik de Boer, Bastian Michel, Aernout Nieuwenhuis, Jan-Herman Reestman
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherUniversity of Amsterdam
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9789090352145
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2021


  • European Law
  • Constitutional law
  • European human rights law


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