Common Constitutional Traditions in Europe

First used by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the judgment on the Internationale Handelsgesellschaft case and currently included in Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union, the term ‘constitutional traditions common to the Member States’ gets more and more attention. Reflection on what are the common constitutional traditions in Europe has never been more urgent than now.

For an overview of past and upcoming meetings of this project, please click here.

ELI Members who are interested in actively contributing to the development of this project are invited to join the Project's Members Consultative Committee (MCC). Kindly contact the ELI Secretariat if you would like to join the MCC of this project or if you have any questions concerning the project.

Quick Facts

Project Type: Instrument
Procedure: Regular
Adopted: CD 2018/2 (On Projects)(subject to conditions)
Project Period: February 2018
Spring 2021


The phrase ‘constitutional traditions common to the Member States’ (CCT) has been formulated by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and has found its way into the Treaty of the European Union (TEU) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFR). The research on constitutional traditions common to Member States (art 6.3 TEU and art 52.4 CFR) is presently a highly topical question, needing a practical approach and involving collaboration between the ELI and EU Institutions. Up to now the CJEU has not engaged in an in-depth investigation of national jurisdictions to verify whether a constitutional tradition is common to Member States, mostly referring to the CFR or to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This has resulted in a welcomed strengthening of the judicial dialogue between the two highest judicial institutions in Europe (the CJEU and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)). However, it has produced a ‘top-down’ approach, whereas a ‘bottom up’ approach would yield results perhaps more compatible with the intent of art 6.3 TEU.


This project seeks to identify the source of Common Constitutional Traditions in Europe; their content; their relationship with national identity; whether they are an autonomous source of European law and the way in which they emerge as common to Member States and are expressed as such.


The Team aims for an output which is broader than some of the classical comparative academic research, with the aim of being of practical utility for EU institutions (and in particular for the CJEU in deciding future cases) and for EU citizens, eg:

  • a methodological proposal to be followed for the research of CCT;
  • a restatement of specific national constitutional traditions and the extent to which they do or do not form part of the CCT; this is meant as a forward-looking effort, aimed at identifying further CCTs on top of the ones identified from the CJEU; and
  • a checklist for the implementation of CCT (like the Venice Commission checklist for the rule of law, which could be employed eg when a country seeks to enter the EU, or in relations to sanctions, etc).

Case Studies

For some illustrative examples that the Common Constitutional Traditions in Europe project seeks to tackle, please click here.

Project Reporters

  • Sabino Cassese
  • Mario Comba

Further Project Team Members

  • Piotr Bogdanowicz
  • Iain Cameron
  • Marta Cartabia
  • Riccardo de Caria
  • Jeorg Fedtke
  • Michele Graziadei
  • Sir Francis Jacobs KCMG QC
  • Andras Sajo
  • Guy Scoffoni

Advisory Committee

  • André Alen
  • Vittoria Barsotti
  • Martin Belov
  • Eva Maria Belser
  • Armin von Bogdandy
  • Remo Caponi
  • Piet Eeckhout
  • Anne Birgitte Gammeljord (Assessor)
  • Lord Lisvane
  • Christian Möllers
  • Paolo Passaglia
  • Fausto Pocar (Assessor)
  • Ornella Porchia
  • Daria de Pretis (Assessor)
  • Matthias Ruffert
  • Fredrik Sejersted
  • Michael Stolleis
  • Lord John Thomas (Assessor)
  • Wim Voermans
  • Diana Wallis
  • Bostjan Zalar
  • Ineta Ziemele

Members Consultative Committee

  • Arvind Babajee
  • Dragan Bataveljić
  • Vito Bumbaca
  • Moustapha Ebaid
  • Aroa Fandiño
  • Maria Filatova
  • Elena Mihaela Fodor
  • Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou
  • Nicola Lupo
  • Jonathan McGowan
  • Marieta Safta
  • Ana Stanič (Chair)
  • Andras Varga
  • Gabriela Varia
  • Gonzalo Villalta Puig
  • Veronica Williams
  • American Constitution Society (represented by Timothy Burns and Caroline Fredrickson)
  • Curia of Hungary (represented by András Patyi)
  • EFTA Surveillance Authority
  • European Law Students Association (ELSA Austria, represented by Irena Ilić)
  • European Union of Judges in Commercial Matters (UEMC, represented by Rainer Sedelmayer)
  • University "Vasile Goldis" Arad-Romania (represented by Christian Alunaru)
  • University of Latvia (represented by Annija Karklina, Janis Pleps and Anita Rodina)

National Correspondents

  • Sanja Baric
  • Leonard Besselink
  • Piotr Bogdanowicz
  • Marianne Bruckmüller
  • Ciaran Burke
  • Iain Cameron
  • Josep Maria Castellà Andreu
  • Georgios Dimitropoulos
  • Philip Dimitrov
  • Achilleas Emilianides

National Correspondents

  • Madis Ernits
  • Federico Fabbrini
  • Joerg Fedtke
  • Christoph Grabenwarter
  • Martina Grochová
  • Stelios Koutnatzis
  • Daniella Lock
  • Matija Milos
  • Colm O’Cinneide
  • Fruzsina Orosz

National Correspondents

  • Paolo Passaglia
  • Catarina Santos Botelho
  • Guy Scoffoni
  • Kristaps Tamužs
  • Tomi Tuominen
  • Jan Velaers
  • Frederik Waage
  • Bostjan Zalar
  • Irina Zlătescu