Gemeinsam aus der Ultra-vires-Falle

Das PSPP-Urteil des BVerfG sollte Anlass sein, über die künftige Gestalt der europäischen Gerichtsverfassung nachzudenken. So verständlich manche Reaktionen auf beiden Seiten des Konflikts auch sein mögen, sie führen nicht weiter. Weder die teils überzogene Kritik in den Medien am BVerfG noch der haltlose Verdacht gegen den EuGH, er wolle den europäischen Bundesstaat per Urteil herbeizwingen, bieten eine zukunftsweisende Lösung. Ein Gemeinsamer Rat der obersten Gerichtshöfe der Europäischen Union könnte diese Aufgabe übernehmen. Hierfür müssten zwar die Gründungsverträge geändert werden. Jedoch sollte uns die Sicherung des Rechtsfriedens in der EU diesen Versuch wert sein.

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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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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.

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Passive and Unequal: The Karlsruhe Vision for the Eurozone

The decision of the Bundesverfassungsgericht on the European Central Bank’s PSPP program did not come as a shock. All the critical arguments of that decision can be found explicitly or implicitly in the BVerfG’s referral to the Court of Justice of the EU on 18 July 2017. The real object of the decision of the BVerfG is the economic governance of the Eurozone or rather the big bet of European solidarity and European integration, in the midst of a pandemic even.

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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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Squaring the PSPP Circle

The PSPP judgment made a core problem of the European Union painfully visible as the supremacy of EU law clashed with national constitutional identity. There is, however, a possibility to square this circle: national apex courts could be empowered to issue ‘declarations of incompatibility’ under Article 4(2) TEU as an alternative to the disapplication of EU law.

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