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.

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →

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 →

Corona Constitutional #29: Bundesbank in der Zwickmühle

Über das EZB-Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichts haben wir schon viel gestritten. Aber wie genau soll es jetzt weiter gehen? Um das herauszufinden, hat der Bundestag gestern eine Gruppe Sachverständiger eingeladen. Einer von ihnen war CHRISTIAN WALTER, Professor an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Mit ihm spricht Max Steinbeis in der heutigen Podcastfolge über die komplizierten Folgen des umstrittenen Urteils.

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →

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?

Continue Reading →

Corona Constitutional #28: EuGH, der vertraute Unbekannte

Das umstrittene EZB-Urteil hat mal wieder ein Schlaglicht auf das komplizierte Verhältnis der Karlsruher Richterinnen und Richter zum EuGH geworfen. Auf der Beziehung lastet unter anderem, dass die beiden Institutionen sehr unterschiedlich arbeiten. Aber wie arbeitet der EuGH überhaupt? Darüber unterhält sich Alexander Melzer im heutigen Podcast mit CHRISTOPH KRENN von der Universität Wien.

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →

Herrschafts­legitimation und implizite Identitäts­kontrolle

Würde sich der Gerichtshof auf die Kritik des BVerfG konstruktiv einlassen und ein Kontrollniveau etablieren, das der demokratischen und rechtstaatlichen Struktur der Union wirklich gerecht wird, wäre er am Ende der eigentliche Gewinner. Auch Reservevorbehalte des BVerfG würden sich dann von selbst erledigen.

Continue Reading →