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National Identity: Setting Boundaries to European Integration

Danuta Kabat-Rudnicka

The European Union law, a new order of international law, permeates the legal orders of the Member States, binding not only states but also citizens. Permeation of the European Union law into the constitutional orders of the Member States is not unconditional. One of the limits is the national identity, understood as the constitutional identity. In legal terms, the concept of national identity is narrower than the one, characteristic for the national tradition. It is the constitutional identity that shapes the relationships between the European Union and the Member States.The purpose of this presentation is to show what is the relationship between the European Union legal order and legal (constitutional) orders of the Member States. It will focus on such aspects as: national and constitutional identity since national identity does not match the constitutional identity to which the constitutional courts refer, the meaning of national identity in the European Union law shaped by the case law of the Court of Justice as well as the meaning and the significance of constitutional identity in the jurisprudence of constitutional courts. It must be underlined that now the respect for national identities is an obligation under the European Union law.The main thesis is the following: the broad meaning of national identity makes it a useful formula, enabling the Member States an effective protection of constitutional values.

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