University of Malta

Ph.D. Award
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Dr. Christopher Pollacco

Ph.D. 2016

Title: The policy-making process of an emerging polity : a study of the making of a constitutional architecture for Europe 

Abstract: The European Union’s constitution-making process has been characterized by a piecemeal approach to integration, which has given rise to a treaties-, rather than a constitution-based compound polity. In 1989–91, the end of the Cold War and subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union prompted the EC leaders to expand the Community’s remit into policy areas beyond economic and monetary union. Eventually, the post-Maastricht era was characterized by an unprecedented string of EC/EU accession applications from across the continent; hence the maturation of what seemed to be a quasi-constitutional moment for Europe, during which European leaders seemed willing to tie the Union’s constitutional ‘loose ends’ that had accumulated over the previous fifty years of piecemeal constitution-making and disjointed incrementalism, into one simplified constitutional treaty text, possibly modelled along federal lines. This study posits that the Union’s confederative process has experienced a slowdown, especially after the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty by the French and Dutch electorates in 2005, due to the resurgence of a sovereignist rationale among Europeans and certain Eurosceptic national governments, which seems to have dampened the integrationists’ vision of a Union run on a federalist basis. Furthermore, it is argued that the practice of adding extra-Treaty accords piecemeal to the basic Treaties continues to characterize the Union’s constitution-making process. Finally, this study illustrates that the various treaty mechanisms and safeguard clauses crafted by the Masters of the Treaties continue to be vital ‘holding together’ arrangements because they provide enough flexibility for the Union’s edifice to persist.

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