Lessons from Europe’s and Canada’s constitutional experiences

WP 2 - Constitutional politics 

WP 2 events

Oslo, 20-21 March 2009

Venue: Holmenkollen Park Hotell Rica (how to get there)

Meeting room Jacob Vaage

Organised by ARENA - Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo

In cooperation with:
Nordic Association for Canadian Studies (NACS)
European Network for Canadian Studies (ENCS)

Co-funded by DFAIT (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada)

Workshop summary (D31) (pdf)


Download Reimbursement form (Word)

Download List of participants (Pdf)

This workshop is organised within RECON's work package 2, which deals with (a) the constitutionalisation of the EU, (b) the Europeanisation of national constitutions, and (c) comparisons of constitutionalism in the EU and in other selected entities.
Read more on the research objectives of WP 2 and on the overall research objectives of RECON.

The purpose of this workshop is to compare the EU with Canada (a multinational and multicultural state), in an area that is of particular relevance to democracy and also to the present European situation: the representative and participatory character of constitution-making and their link to constitutional failure. Workshop outline.


Workshop publication

The contributions to the workshop are published in:

RECON Research Report WP 2: 'Lessons from Europe's and Canada's Constitutional Experiences', edited by John Erik Fossum (ARENA), April 2011.



Download pdf

Friday, 20 March 2009 


John Erik Fossum

Background paper: 'Europe’s Challenge: Reconstituting Europe or Reconstituting Democracy?' by Erik O. Eriksen and John Erik Fossum

Background paper: 'On democratizing European constitution making: Possible lessons from Canada's experience' by John Erik Fossum (Supreme Court Law Review, 2007)

I – Overview of the Canadian and the European constitutional experiences


Canada's and the EU's engagement in constitutional reform: A comparative overview
Peter Russell, University of Toronto


Closer to the citizens? European constitutional processes, communication policy and publicity
Giulio Itzcovich, Università degli Studi di Brescia


Coffee break


Fashioning democratic constitutions for multinational entities: Reflections on the comparability of the EU and Canada (co-author Agustín J. Menéndez)
John Erik Fossum, ARENA, University of Oslo


Discussant: Hans-Jörg Trenz, ARENA, University of Oslo


Lunch buffet, Restaurant 'De Fem Stuer'

Welcome by Jillian Stirk, Canada's Ambassador to Norway

II – Chartered constitutional refashioning of community


Chartered constitutional refashioning of community: Less thorough-going than it was projected to be?
Jeremy Webber, University of Victoria


European constitution making and the role of gender (co-author Sara Clavero)
Yvonne Galligan, Queen’s University Belfast


Coffee break


Canadian constitution making and the role of gender
Marilou McPhedran, University of Winnipeg


Discussant: Cathrine Holst, ARENA, University of Oslo


General discussion


Dinner at Restaurant 'De Fem Stuer'

Saturday, 21 March 2009 

III – Democratizing constitution-making


Democratizing constitution making: Reflections on the Canadian experience
Patrick Fafard, University of Ottawa


Reconceiving democratic constitutionalism for multi-national polities: Do the cases of the EU and Canada point in similar directions?
Ben Crum, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Coffee break


The complexity of the word 'no': An appraisal of the EU’s procedures for Treaty change
Christopher Lord, ARENA, University of Oslo


Discussant: Carlos Closa, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC)


Lunch buffet, Restaurant 'De Fem Stuer'

IV – Constitutional reform failure


Does the world need more Canada?
John Erik Fossum, ARENA, University of Oslo


Integration through constitutional synthesis: The peculiar political order and constitutional law of the European Union
Agustín José Menéndez, University of León (presented by John Erik Fossum)


Coffee break


General discussion

Concluding reflections


Erik O. Eriksen, ARENA, University of Oslo


Common departure from the hotel

20:00 Dinner at Bølgen & Moi, Briskeby

For practical information, please contact Marit Eldholm, ARENA

For further information, please contact John Erik Fossum (co-leader WP 2)