The Multidimensional Sovereignty of the European Constitution
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis analyses the challenges from European constitutionalism to the classical concept of constitutional sovereignty and develops an alternative concept of multidimensional sovereignty that is adequate for understanding the architecture of political authority in the multilevel European Union constitution. Hereby, the thesis addresses two problems that are widely spread in European constitutional theory. First, it provides a clear and concise definition and concept of the European constitution. This is mainly based on an analysis of the emergence of the concept of the constitution and its meanings in the Western European history of (nation) states and by examining whether these meanings are applicable to the European context. Secondly, it identifies and explains which phenomena of European integration and the European Union polity actually challenge the core features of the traditional concept of sovereignty: indivisible and unitary sovereignty. The three challenges, that undermine the classical monolithic understanding of sovereignty, are multiple levels of authority, multiple sources of authority and new, non-hierarchical forms of authority relationships that occur in the European Union polity. That is why a revised concept of constitutional sovereignty is developed and which is particularly capable of grasping the transformed features of sovereignty in Europe: multidimensional sovereignty. This concept includes a complementary and multilevel structure of political authority in Europe. Throughout the thesis, the analysis and findings will be illustrated by constitutional practice and adjudication in Germany and the United Kingdom in order to show that the question of constitutional sovereignty has strong practical implications for and is highly influenced by constitutional practice in the Member States.
PhD in European Studies