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The Legacy of the Maastricht-Urteil and the Pluralist Movement

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The Maastricht-Urteil of the German Constitutional Court of October 1993 has left a deep mark on EU law. Although some may consider it as part of legal history, the decision has never been overruled, and the ideas behind it are very much alive. This article tries to examine the legacy of that decision. From a practical point of view, the article focuses on the following issues: the current situation in Germany; the influence on other constitutional or supreme courts and on constitutional reforms in some Member States; the influence on the European Court of Justice and on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. Regarding theory, three sections of the article discuss a number of widespread ‘idées reçues’ contained in the Maastricht-Urteil on notions such as the state, constituent power (pouvoir constituant), and democracy. The next section presents the movement of legal pluralism as an attempt to come to terms with the Maastricht-Urteil and its legacy. It criticises the radical versions of legal pluralism in view of the damage they may cause to essential dimensions of the rule of law. The final section reflects on the real motives behind the Maastricht-Urteil and its legacy, and on possible future developments.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-07-01

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