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Leipzig 1989: dissolution of the East German state people or Staatsvolk – Karlsruhe 2020: dissolution of the German people – Courts and the people as a neglected constitutional relationship – Bundesverfassungsgericht's versions of the people – Analysis of the concept of people – Forms of action – Political people breaks down into two: original and electoral people – Marbury v. Madison – Duality as a matter of doctrine and principle – Duality in Lissabon Urteil – Conflation and reduction of authority to vote – Subordination of electoral to original people – The Court's logic pushed into motion – Exposing the constitution
Following the dramatic No votes in the French and Dutch referendums on 29 May and 1 June 2005, a need was felt in the European constitutional law profession to react to the shock.
EuConst invited members of its Board and members of the European Constitutional Law Network to write a short comment about possible and possibly salutary effects of the events on the ways of European scholarship and teaching. Below are the reactions received. Authors are all members of ECLN and/or the Board of EuConst.
The contributions to this issue of EuConst by Jacques Ziller, Sacha Prechal and Herman van Gunsteren carry their comments on the events incorporated.
Meeting of constitutional form and matter. Matter in the sense of Machiavelli's ‘political life’, clashes between the establisment and the people. EU investiture struggle and its outcomes. Structural elements of the EU Constitution: authority, representation, political federalism.
Between 11 March and 29 October 2004, between Madrid and Rome, the European Constitution has turned from an uncertain possibility into a certain (albeit not full) reality. The day of the Madrid train bombs killing 190 and wounding 1500 is as inseparable from the history of the Constitution as the date of its signature, 29 October. Those events of 11 March (and the ensuing government blunders) moved the Spanish people to end the reign of Aznar's Popular Party. This in turn unblocked the Constitution talks that had got gripped, among other things, due to Spanish intransigence in December.
In several ways the particular sequence or succession of events from 11 March to 29 October can also be seen as symbolic for this particular European Constitution. Let us select three angles: an historic, a formal and a substantive one.
Purse power has been a hot item throughout the Union's history and was again much fought over during the Convention and the Intergovernmental Conference. The Constitution has indeed produced a number of significant changes. What makes the subject so hot? It is not just the money. The Union's budget is no more than that of a single smaller Member State. Most of the expenses are, moreover, fixed. That the budget should be so hot is probably because fighting over money is a good test of strengths generally (with a neat and immediate outcome). This explains the role the purse has always played in constitutional history. True to the grand tradition then, as soon as the European Parliament was given powers in the matter (1975) and got directly elected (1979), it had fights over the EU budget. This was mainly a wedge to break a share for itself in the legislative process. In the years that followed, it has in fact gained more legislative than financial powers. And the Union has been kept short, not on legislative powers but on money.
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