Martijn Hesselink’s ‘progressive code’ stands on a century-old leftist tradition. What makes the project unique, however, is the transfer from the nation-state context to the European context and its reliance on principles instead of a fully composed catalogue of rights and obligations. My main criticisms are ultimately the lack of a convincing and fully developed background on both sides of his intellectual construct: the public and the private sphere. Martijn Hesselink has an idealising notion of the public sphere, which he does not yet support with a corresponding EU constitutional theory of the public sphere, and he marginalises society as its own private sphere. The understanding of the public sphere needs to be theoretically and conceptually better grounded in order to be convincing and he would have to recognise that the role and function of the private sphere remain a blind spot in the ‘progressive code’.