Temporality in the varieties of constitutionalism in the European Union

This paper explores the role of historical memory in the construction of political identity in the European Union and its Member States. The paper shows that the EU Member States are characterised by different ‘varieties of constitutionalism’. The constitutional orders of the EU Member States are shaped by different historical experiences and memories, and for that reason they have different conceptions of democracy, sovereignty and the constitution. These differences matter for how individual states understand their member-statehood. I identify three main varieties of constitutionalism – post-fascist (e.g., Germany and Italy), evolutionary (e.g., UK and Denmark) and post-communist (e.g., Hungary and Poland) – and show that the variety of constitutionalism that characterises a state shapes its legal and political relationship to the EU.