A National Perspective on Constitutional Identity: Reflections on Czech Tradition and Constitutional Text

Member States invoke national or constitutional identity mainly to allow the current political majorities to avoid their obligation to comply with EU law. However, this concept also provides an opportunity to reflect on our own national and constitutional identity from a national perspective. There is an ongoing debate, sometimes even a struggle, in individual states over the content of national traditions shaping national and constitutional identity. At the national level, reflections on identity could lead to conclusions about how historical experience has been imprinted on the constitutional text, how national traditions are interpreted and how it affects the present. This paper will use the example of several provisions from the Czech constitutional order to show how they are embedded in the historical experience. It will then argue for the need to tell the story of the modern statehood emergence as a part of legitimising constitutionalism as well as European integration.