POSTS BY Martijn van den Brink

Unquestioned supremacy still begs the question

Earlier this week, 32 leading scholars of EU law and politics signed the statement that national courts cannot override CJEU judgments, in response to a demonstration by the BVerfG that it actually can. We share the signatories’ concern that Weiss might (and most probably will) be used as a pretext for refusing to comply with the CJEU’s rulings and the EU rule of law requirements in Member States such as Poland or Hungary. We are also critical of the conclusion to which the BVerfG arrived in its decision, though we accept some of its premises (i.e., that the national disapplication of EU acts may be justified in some rare and exceptional cases). However, even though we are not all constitutional pluralists, we take issue with some aspects of the reasoning behind the original statement and question the doctrinal and empirical arguments it invokes in favour of EU law’s unconditional supremacy.

Continue Reading →

Is Egenberger next?

When judges must rely on newspapers to clarify a decision they decided a week before, something seems to have gone wrong. However, while the BVerfG seems to be taken aback by the storm of indignation that burst upon them since last week’s PSPP decision, the judges remain adamant in their criticism of the CJEU. Luxembourg should perhaps even fear another ultra vires decision.

Continue Reading →

Is the Reasoning in “Coman” as Good as the Result?

The Court of Justice of the European Union has not always enjoyed the reputation of being particularly LGBT-friendly, but its standing among those pushing for the better protection of rights of same-sex couples is likely to have improved considerably following Coman. While I agree with the substantive result of the decision, I am uncertain if the CJEU’s reasoning is equally convincing. My two main points of critique concern the interpretative techniques applied and the relationship between national identity and fundamental rights.

Continue Reading →

The EU’s limited justice capacities

The starting premise behind Europe’s Justice Deficit? is that we have to associate justice not only with the state, but also with sub- and supra-state entities. Considering the depth and breadth of European integration, the EU cannot escape our scrutiny; the EU is, as the editors remark, ‘clearly at the very least a potential agent of (in)justice’. One cannot but wholeheartedly agree with this starting assumption, but we should also acknowledge that it leaves a very important question unanswered: does the EU possess the same capacities for delivering (in)justices as other entities, in particular the state? Can we simply apply our justice vocabulary to the EU without even the slightest modicum of translation that takes into account the context within which the EU is situated? While it is not denied that the EU has the ability to deliver justice, it is suggested that there are limits to the EU’s justice capacities.

Continue Reading →