„If We Embark On A Global Constitutional Process We Will Fail“

National parliamentary democracy is in peril as a result of the Euro crisis, therefore we need to constitutionalize the EU / the Eurozone as a parliamentary democracy of its own right. This view, most prominently articulated by Jürgen Habermas, is shared by many in Germany (including me). But what about other countries, maybe with even deeper democratic roots than us? Is the need to save democracy and to constitutionalize Europe also felt in, say, France? If not, how can we hope to strive for a political union in Europe – a union which maybe nobody but us wants to join?

I have called Guy Carcassonne, professor of constitutional law at the University of Paris X-Nanterre and one of the most prominent experts of the country, to find out.

MS: Last week, the Conseil Constitutionel handed down its decision about the constitutionality of the Fiscal Compact. What are the most important findings of the court?

GC: The most important point on a political ground, obviously, is that there is no necessity to amend the constitution. Which is no surprise. The treaty is rather flexible when you read it properly. It does offer two possibilities to implement it, either on a constitutional or a non-constitutional basis. Given that there are two possibilities and one without amending the constitution, which is politically far easier, it doesn’t come as a surprise that it be the second one that will be chosen.

MS: Does that mean that there won’t be any constitutional or equivalent constraint for the French budgetary legislator?

GC: Of course not. Even in the second alternative there will necessarily be a permanent constraint. Parliament will be bound by a so called „loi organique“, a law superior to ordinary statutes, derived from the constitution but not part of it ...

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