The Italian Constitutional Court in re Taricco: “Gauweiler in the Roman Campagna”

The Italian Constitutional Court’s Tarrico judgement is worded in apparently much milder terms than the BVerfG’s preliminary reference in Gauweiler. The content of the ICC’s decision, though, seems loaded with much more dynamite. In Gauweiler, the CJEU was called to interpret an act of another EU institution. In Taricco, the CJEU is called to reinterpret its own decision, after the ICC essentially asked “please, say it again?”

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The Taricco Decision: A Last Attempt to Avoid a Clash between EU Law and the Italian Constitution

Is Italy obliged by EU law to pursue criminal acts longer than provided by Italian law? This question might cause a fundamental clash between the Italian Constitutional Court and the European Court of Justice. Unlike the CJEU, the Italian Constitutional Court interprets a retroactive suspension of the limitation period as a matter of principle of legality, and thereby as a matter of a core principle of Italian constitutional law. By referring the case to the CJEU, the Italian Constitutional Court gives the European Court a chance to revisit its jurisdiction while avoiding the identity language of the German Constitutional Court – good news for cooperative constitutionalism in Europe.

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The Hungarian Constitutional Court and Constitutional Identity

Ever since the 2010 parliamentary elections Hungary has set off on the journey to became an ‘illiberal’ member state of the EU, which does not comply with the shared values of rule of law and democracy, the ‘basic structure’ of Europe. The new government of Viktor Orbán from the very beginning has justified the non-compliance by referring to national sovereignty, and lately to the country’s constitutional identity guaranteed in Article 4 (2) TEU. This constitutional battle started with the invalid anti-migrant referendum, was followed by the failed constitutional amendment, and concluded in early December last year by a decision of the Constitutional Court, in which the packed body in a binding constitutional interpretation rubber-stamped the constitutional identity defense of the Orbán government.

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National Constitutional Identity in the European Constitutional Project: A Recipe for Exposing Cover Ups and Masquerades

On November 8, 2016 the Hungarian Parliament did not adopt the Seventh Amendment of the Fundamental Law seeking to protect Hungarian constitutional identity in the face of European imposition. The Seventh Amendment was meant to cover up the minor scratch on the Government’s pride caused by lack of popular support for its relentless fight against the EU. Although the Amendment did not pass, supporters of European constitutional projects cannot afford to sit back and relax.

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