A constitution for Europe and its consequences for the concept of national sovereignty.
Van Elsuwege, Peter
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On 18 July 2003 the European Convention adopted by consensus the final version of the ,, Draft Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe". Almost one year later, at the \b June 2004 Brussels summit, the Intergovernmental Conference finally reached agreement on the EU’s new Constitutional Treaty, which is now awaiting a process of national ratifications. An analysis of the Convention discussions and the first reactions to this ambitious document reveal the sensitivity of notions such as national identity" and sovereignty". According to one commentator, the EU Constitution ,,fatally undermines the concept of nation-state sovereignty", which has ,,put EU Members in the impossible position of choosing between European integration and their own Independence."  Against the background of this opinion it is obvious that the Impact of the forthcoming EU Constitution upon sovereignty, a central and Integral concept of national constitutions needs clarification. A basic question of this paper is whether two constitutions, European and national, can co-exist on the same territory without major legal problems. This is particularly important for a country such as Lithuania, which has several constitutional safeguards protecting the republic’s sovereignty and Independence. According to Article 1 of the constitution Lithuania shall be an Independent state, whereas Article 2 proclaims that sovereignty shall be vested in the People". Moreover, ,, no one may limit or restrict the sovereignty of the People or make claims to the sovereign powers of the People" (Art. 3). Hence, the question arises whether and how the forthcoming EU Constitution will affect the traditional concept of national sovereignty as laid down in the first articles of the Lithuanian constitution. This paper first analyses the meaning of sovereignty and the evolution of this concept throughout the process of European Integration. Furthermore, it identifies limits to the transfer of sovereign rights as laid down by important decisions of national constitutional Courts and examinee how the EU Constitution affects the traditional concept of national sovereignty". Finally, this paper argues in favour of a new interpretation to sovereignty in the context of further European Integration.
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