Union of states

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The term association of states is a neologism for a multi-level system in which the states work more closely together than in a confederation of states , however, in contrast to a, state of the national sovereignty reserve. The term is used in Germany to describe the European Union in the sense of “the member states acting together” and has no equivalent in other languages.

Origin and original meaning

The term was coined in 1992 by Paul Kirchhof , who did not use it as a legal term. Through his office as judge of the Federal Constitutional Court at the time , the designation found its way into German jurisprudence on the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 (see Maastricht judgment ).

Reinterpretation to a legal term

In the period that followed, the term was taken up in law and political science and - mostly out of an unconscious misunderstanding of its original (non) meaning, more rarely out of a conscious redefinition - it was reinterpreted as a category that stood independently alongside or between the confederation and the federal state.

In the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court on the Lisbon Treaty of June 2009 ( Lisbon judgment ), the concept of the union of states was then also defined by the highest court. According to this, the term encompasses a close, long-term association of states that remain sovereign and that exercise public authority on a contractual basis, but whose basic order is solely subject to the disposal of the member states and in which the peoples - that is, the national citizens - of the member states are the subjects of democratic legitimation stay.

An association of states is thus a supranational institution which can carry out sovereign acts in certain areas (e.g. enact laws or speak justice ), but does not have the competence to determine these areas itself. In the European Union (EU), this is achieved through the principle of limited individual authorization , according to which the EU organs may only issue legal norms if they are explicitly authorized to do so by the EU treaties, so-called primary European law . The EU treaties, in turn, can only be concluded and amended by the sovereign EU member states , whereby ratification is necessary in each case according to the modalities provided for in national constitutional law.

Web links

Wiktionary: Association of states  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Keyword union of states . In: Political dictionary of the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb).
  2. a b cf. The democratic legitimation of the activities of international organizations (PDF; 899 kB) p. 3, fn. 28 fm w. N.