RECON Online Working Paper 2010/12

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Informal Elite Dialogue and Democratic Control in EU Foreign and Security Policy



Antje Wiener (University of Hamburg) and Uwe Puetter (Central European University)



As an academic artefact constitutionalism offers a reference frame for research on constitutional quality beyond the nation-state. The challenge for this research is to avoid methodological nationalism while acknowledging the institutions, principles and norms as the derivatives of ‘stateness’ which are enduring cosmopolitan elements of constitutionalism at the same time. The paper advances two arguments. First, if we are to ‘reconstruct democracy in Europe’, it is important to find out whether core elements of constitutionalism are still shared. Second, if we are to understand the quality of ‘European’ constitutionalism from a pluralist cosmopolitan perspective, it matters how the normative structure of meaning-in-use is enacted in 21st century Europe. The empirical access point for this research is social practices in inter-national relations. The paper therefore investigates social practices in the area of foreign and security policy, it elaborates on the concept of constitutionalism as a reference frame for studies of constitutional quality beyond the state, and turns to the CFSP setting, proposing that transnationalisation needs to be demonstrated with reference to shared normative baggage or cultural validation of norms. In sum findings and implications for research on democratic constitutionalism are explicated.


Constitutionalism – Dialogue – Democracy – Elites – Foreign and Security Policy – International Relations – Practices

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