The Lisbon Treaty: De-Constitutionalizing the European Union?
Calls to ratify the Lisbon Treaty by referendum have been countered with arguments about the Treaty's 'non-constitutional' nature. Against this backdrop, this article asks how much 'constitution' is left in the new document. To answer this question, I assert that little is gained by classifying the Treaty "in toto" as a 'European constitution' or as the epitome of its failure. Instead, I develop an analytical framework that disaggregates the concept of constitution into its formal, material and symbolic functions, and systematically assess how far Lisbon would strengthen (or weaken) Europe's constitutional quality. The article suggests that, rather than transferring new competences to Brussels or making a constitutional "saut qualitatif", Lisbon moderately bolsters the Treaties' formal functions; yet, in contrast to the Constitutional Treaty it adds little in material terms and is a decisive setback symbolically. Calls for ratification by referendum justified by the reform's extent are therefore ill-founded. Copyright (c) 2009 The Author(s). Journal compilation (c) 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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