Ultra vires and constitutional identity control – apples and oranges or two drops of water?

The PSPP decision raised the question of how to deal with competence and jurisdictional conflicts in the EU. Once suggestion is to install a Mixed Appeal Chamber of the CJEU. Apart from ultra vires control, the New Chamber could also engage in constitutional identity review of EU law. In order to do that I will propose, what I call, the “sequential” model of adjudication on Art. 4(2) TEU, which in my opinion can be applied in the current legal setting, but which could be potentially complemented with the establishment of the new chamber.

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Taming the Karlsruhe Dragon

In order to reconcile the conflicting claims for primacy within the parameters set by the BVerfG and EU law, the German parliament could (and should) amend the procedural rules for the BVerfG: the first, and most fundamental of these changes would provide for an order to conduct a referendum on whether Germany should exercise its right to withdraw from the EU under Art. 50 TEU as the only definitive judicial remedy available if a conflict between EU law and the German constitution cannot otherwise be resolved.

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In Praise of Uncertainty

The Bundesverfassungsgericht’s PSPP decision will have immense consequences. I have no reason to doubt the alarm raised by so many informed and respected commentators. But here’s one small thing that has been lost in the debate so far. The Court’s decision to go its own way on a question of European law might be seen as evidence of the influence of the common law tradition in the European legal system. That’s no bad thing, and it’s probably unavoidable in any case.

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The Faceless Court

The authority of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the veritable Supreme Court of the European Union, has come under attack. In May 2020, the German Constitutional Court challenged the authority of the ECJ by holding that the Luxembourg court had acted beyond its mandate by allowing the quantitative easing measures issued by the European Central Bank. While many remain fixated on how the German decision has triggered the EU constitutional crisis, the public may have overlooked a more fundamental problem that has long beset the legitimacy of the ECJ—its own institutional failures.

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The EU Judiciary After Weiss

The damage to the integrity of the EU’s legal order and its rule of law is done, and the toothpaste cannot be pushed back into the tube. So the pressing questions now are two: How to address and mitigate the damage, and how to prevent its repetition. We propose that in the Conference on the Future of Europe serious consideration be given to the establishment of a new appeal jurisdiction within the Court of Justice, strictly and narrowly confined to Weiss type cases, where at issue is the delineation of the jurisdictional line between the Member States and their EU.

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The Schrödinger’s Advocate General

We know Brexit means Brexit but should it also mean violating EU Primary Law? Eleanor Sharpston QC, one of the Advocates General of the European Court of Justice, launched an unprecedented legal action “against the EU and her own judicial colleagues after attempts were made to sack her”: The national governments of 27 EU Member States decided to terminate her appointment early. Why? Because Brexit ought to mean Brexit or so it seems.

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National Courts Cannot Override CJEU Judgments

The European Union is a community based on the rule of law. The EU legal order is the backbone that holds the EU together, and the German Federal Constitutional Court’s ruling in Weiss poses a profound threat to that legal order. This threat goes far beyond the potential consequences of the Weiss ruling for European monetary policy. We write this statement to express our shared view that the German Court’s assertion that it can declare that a CJEU judgment “has no binding force in Germany” is untenable and must be forcefully rejected. We also write to challenge those versions of scholarship on constitutional pluralism and constitutional identity that would defend the authority of any national court to make such a ruling and that helped (even if unintentionally) encourage it to do so.

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The Bundesbank is under a legal obligation to ignore the PSPP Judgment of the Bundes­verfassungs­gericht

If there is a situation undermining the rule of law, then it is exactly this: The Bundesbank is under a legal obligation to ignore the PSPP Judgment of the Bundesverfassungsgericht (under EU law), and the Bundesbank is under a legal obligation to follow the PSPP Judgment of the Bundesverfassungsgericht (under German constitutional law). How has it come to this?

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