The Venice Commission’s Brave New World: Triangulating Constitutional Assistance, Global Membership and European Standards

The European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) played a crucial role in providing legal assistance and technical expertise in numerous processes of constitutional transition, notably in Central and Eastern European countries. Since the reform of 2002, an increasing number of extra-European states has joined the Commission, in a trend that is expected to grow in the coming years. This progressively enlarged membership raises a series of under-investigated questions affecting the identity, standards, and future of the Commission. Basing the analysis on empirical cases and building on the Commission’s opinions, the paper focuses on the transition that the Venice Commission started in 2002 and on its impact in terms of European identity, legal standards, and working methods. It then elaborates on the future risks, opportunities, and scenarios that this newly inaugurated global “brave new world” might have for the Commission’s constitutional assistance activity.