“2004 EU Accession” as a Founding Moment? Of lost opportunities, alienating constitutionalism and vigilant courts

Much as the liberal elites in Poland are appalled by the ruthlessness of the attack on the Constitutional Court and the Polish rule of law, they are the ones to be blamed for the civic passivity that continues to define post-transition societies in general. The truly reformative potential of 1989, and then 2004, was lost when elites neglected the importance of connecting with the “real” people beyond the magic of the big-bang moments of 1989 and 2004. This “alienating constitutionalism” is one of the dark sides of 2004 Founding Moment, one that nobody really saw coming at the time of the EU Accession. Should the citizenry start embracing and defending the Court as “my own”, the truly powerful legacy of the 2004 Founding Moment would be discovered.

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