Legitimacy and rights in the EU: questions of identity

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Series Details Vol.14, No.4, June 2007, p527-543
Publication Date June 2007
ISSN 1350-1763
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Rights as well as democracy play a crucial role in the legitimacy of the EU and constitutional patriotism has been influential in attempting to link them together. The article seeks to engage in a critique of constitutional patriotism on two fronts. First, it distinguishes between the various types of right that exist within EU law - Community, citizenship and fundamental - and then analyses the place of these rights within various political models of the EU ranging from nationalism to republicanism. It argues that constitutional patriotism does not enjoy a monopoly on rights discourse in the EU: most models of the EU see a place for rights; it is just that the type of right supported varies. Secondly, advocates of constitutional patriotism argue that EU rights generate European identity. The article questions the extent to which this is the case, arguing that identity potential varies considerably according to the type of EU right concerned.

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