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The European Union today stands on the brink of radical institutional and constitutional change. The most recent enlargement and proposed legal reforms reflect a commitment to democracy: stabilizing political life for citizens governed by new regimes, and constructing a European Union more accountable to civil society. Despite the perceived novelty of these reforms, this book explains (through quantitative data and qualitative case analyses) how the European Court of Justice has developed and sustained a vibrant tradition of democratic constitutionalism since the 1960s.
The book documents the dramatic consequences of this institutional change for civil society and public policy reform throughout Europe. Cichowski offers detailed empirical and historical studies of gender equality and environmental protection law across fifteen countries and over thirty years, revealing important linkages between civil society, courts and the construction of governance. The findings bring into question dominant understandings of legal integration.