Common Constitutional Traditions in Europe

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).

Project Reporters

  • Sabino Cassese
  • Mario Comba
  • Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC

Further Project Team Members

  • Piotr Bogdanowicz
  • Iain Cameron
  • Marta Cartabia
  • Riccardo de Caria
  • Jeorg Fedtke
  • Michele Graziadei
  • 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
  • Lord Lisvane
  • Christian Möllers
  • Paolo Passaglia
  • Ornella Porchia
  • Matthias Ruffert
  • Fredrik Sejersted
  • Michael Stolleis
  • Wim Voermans
  • Diana Wallis
  • Bostjan Zalar
  • Ineta Ziemele

Members Consultative Committee

  • American Constitution Society (represented by Timothy Burns and Carolina Fredrickson)
  • Curia of Hungary (represented by András Patyi)
  • Aroa Fandiño
  • Maria Filatova
  • Elena Mihaela Fodor
  • European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority
  • European Law Students' Association Austria (represented by Irena Ilić)
  • European Union of Judges in Commercial Matters (represented by Rainer Sedelmayer)
  • Nicola Lupo
  • University of Latvia (represented by Annija Karklina, Anita Rodina and Janis Pleps)
  • Andras Varga
  • Gonzalo Villalta Puig
  • Veronica Williams
  • Western University "Vasile Goldis" Arad -Romania, Faculty of Law (represented by Christian Alunaru)