Public event

The constitution of European democracy

There is little doubt that the European Union suffers from a democratic deficit that affects its legitimacy and acceptance with EU citizens. However, it is rarely noticed that this deficit finds its source in the state of European constitutionalism. The EU is over-constitutionalised, and the effect is a power shift from the democratically legitimised and accountable institutions to the executive and judicial bodies of the EU. In his new book, 'The Constitution of European Democracy' (Oxford University Press), Dieter Grimm analyses the origins and consequences of this situation, and develops proposals for a reform of the institutional structure and the decision making process within the EU.

Dieter Grimm teaches constitutional law at Humboldt University Berlin and at the Yale Law School. From 1987 to 1999 he served as Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. He holds a law degree and a doctoral from the University of Frankfurt and an LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School. He has been a visiting professor in many universities such as Harvard, New York University, the University of Toronto, the University La Sapienza in Rome, the Indian National Law School in Kolkatta, Seoul National University, Beijing University, Renmin University Beijing etc. Dieter Grimm holds honorary doctoral degrees from the universities of Toronto, Göttingen, Porto Alegre and Bucharest. He is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, the Academia Europaea and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2016, his book 'Europa ja – aber welches?' appeared with Verlag C.H. Beck and is now available in English translation under the title 'The Constitution of European Democracy' with Oxford University Press.


Mark Dawson is Professor of European Law and Governance at the Hertie School of Governance. His research focuses on the relationship between law and policymaking in the EU, particularly economic governance and human rights protection. Dawson was previously an Assistant Professor at Maastricht University, where he remains a scholar within the Maastricht Centre for European Law.