12 Colum. J. Eur. L. 241 (2005 – 2006)
Achilles Skordas, Reader in Law, University of Bristol. I thank Maria Panezi, LL.M. Student, International Legal Studies, New York University, for her invaluable assistance.
Neil Walker, ed., Sovereignty in Transition, Hart Publishing, Oxford-Portland, Oregon, 2003. Pp.xii, 556.
Christian Joerges, Inger-Johanne Sand & Gunther Teubner, eds., Transnational Governance and Constitutionalism, Hart Publishing, Oxford and Portland, Oregon, 2004. Pp. xv, 386.
America is therefore the land of the future, where, in the ages that lie before us, the burden of the World’s History shall reveal itself…. It is a land of desire for all those who are weary of the historical lumber-room of old Europe. Napoleon is reported to have said: Cette vieille Europe m’ennuie. It is for America to abandon the ground on which hitherto the History of the World has developed itself. What has taken place in the New World up to the present time is only an echo of the Old World-the expression of a foreign Life …Dismissing, then, the New World, and the dreams to which it may give rise, we pass over to the Old World-the scene of the World’s History.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
The rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in the French and Dutch referendums is a cause for reflection on the further development of European constitutionalism and on the prospects of European power. The two books under review facilitate this reflection in an exemplary manner, by analyzing the complex relationship among government, governance, and sovereignty. In light of the recent developments, the differing standpoints of the authors seem as interconnected through a common, even if sometimes almost invisible, thread: namely, that the institutional edifice of the “political” as evolutionary achievement of modernity (in the form of government or full sovereignty), cannot and should not be conceived as the location of a hierarchical society steering on a supranational level. An eventual failure of political integration should thus not be taken to mean the beginning of the end of the European integration project. On the contrary, it stresses the need to “return to the origins” and restore and complete the economic constitution that has been so successful in Europe for half a century. If the European Union gives up its pharaonic superpower ambitions, it can still be an idiosyncratic aging power with finesse, wisdom, vision, and a sense of History. The two books offer the reader the opportunity to imagine an alternative and more realistic future for Europe, than that of political constitutionalism that dominated public discourse in the last years.