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Greek Council of State

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 April 2014


Ever since the days of Van Gend en Loos and Costa, national attitudes to the unilaterally proclaimed supremacy of EU law have invariably captured a great deal of academic and political attention. Since the mid-1990s most national constitutional courts have converged to the interpretative orthodoxy of a qualified acceptance of primacy, couched in a pluralist vision of the relationship between the EU and its Member States. As things stand at the moment, and especially against the backdrop of Declaration 17 of the Lisbon Treaty, primacy is expected to be the constitutionally recognised conflict resolution norm that national courts shall turn to in almost all circumstances.

The Greek Council of State in its Judgment 3470/2011 does not break this pattern, even in the face of a politically sensitive issue. When considering whether an irrebuttable presumption of incompatibility between tenderers for public works contracts and owners or main shareholders of media corporations is permissible under EU law, the Greek court unequivocally accepts the relevant ECJ preliminary ruling in Michaniki and recalibrates its interpretation of the national constitution accordingly. In doing so, however, the Council of State reads an obligation for consistent interpretation into the constitution itself, thus turning the doctrine of indirect effect into a pragmatic tool for constitutional pluralism in action.

Case Report
Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Press and the Authors 2014 

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