EU, the Devil You Know: Restoring Trust in the EU by Establishing Familiarity

Public law scholars have very different views about the EU’s constitutional nature, but whatever they deemed the EU to be (a multilevel constitutional order, a federation, a plural system, etc.), many saw the problem that the knowledge of EU’s constitutional nature is hardly accessible to the general public. Unfamiliarity had led to a sense of alienation and high-level of distrust. By connecting the Neo-Roman Republican conception of the law of peoples and the Schmittian idea of a status contract, I argue that the EU is a federation without its own constituent power. By demonstrating the EU treaties’ structural and functional similarity with the original social contract, I argue that the EU is structurally comparable to a state, and therefore could readily be made understandable to EU citizens. But since it does not have constituent power, it cannot claim ultimate sovereignty over its member states. This qualification reduces the fear that the EU itself is to become a super state.