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Countering the Judicial Silencing of Critics: Article 2 TEU Values, Reverse Solange, and the Responsibilities of National Judges

  • Armin von Bogdandy and Luke Dimitrios Spieker


EU Rule of law crisis – Article 2 TEU – EU values – EU fundamental rights – Freedom of speech – Member state courts – Interpretation of national law in conformity with Article 2 TEU values – Preliminary reference – Duty of referral – Criminal liability of judges – Reverse SolangeASJP judgment – Judicial applicability of Article 2 TEU – Value-oriented interpretation of EU law – Mutual Amplification – Essence of EU fundamental rights – L.M. judgment – Aranyosi judgment – Federal balance – Red lines – Systemic deficiencies – Solange presumption – Mutual trust

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Director, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg.


Research Fellow and PhD Candidate, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg. The authors wish to thank the Dienstagsrunde, Piotr Bogdanowicz, Christoph Burchard, Iris Canor, Pedro Cruz Villalón, Lukas Huthmann, Michael Ioannidis and Nicole Lazzerini for valuable critique. This paper has been presented at the conference ‘The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Member States’ (Mansfield College, Oxford, 22-23 March 2019). The first part draws on an earlier version published on Verfassungsblog.



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1 On the measures, see European Commission, Proposal for a Council Decision on the determination of a clear risk of a serious breach by the Republic of Poland of the rule of law, COM/2017/0835 final; on the disciplinary regime for judges, see the recently triggered infringement procedure against Poland, European Commission, Rule of Law: European Commission launches infringement procedure to protect judges in Poland from political control, Press Release, 3 April 2019, available at ⟨⟩, visited 21 August 2019.

2 For his views, see e.g. Sadurski, W., Poland’s Constitutional Breakdown (Oxford University Press 2019); ibid., ‘How Democracy Dies (in Poland): A Case Study of Anti-Constitutional Populist Backsliding’, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 18/01; ibid., ‘Constitutional Crisis in Poland’, in Graber, M.A. et al. (eds.), Constitutional Democracy in Crisis (Oxford University Press 2018) p. 257 ; ibid., ‘Polish Constitutional Tribunal Under PiS: From an Activist Court, to a Paralysed Tribunal, to a Governmental Enabler’, 11 Hague Journal On The Rule Of Law (2018) p. 63.

3 W. Sadurski, ‘I criticized Poland’s government. Now it’s trying to ruin me’, The Washington Post, 22 May 2019. In support of Sadurski, see G. de Búrca and J. Morijn, ‘Open Letter in Support of Professor Wojciech Sadurski’, Verfassungsblog, 6 May 2019.

4 For a full account, see the Ombudsman’s official website at ⟨⟩, visited 21 August 2019. The case was dismissed in first instance by the Regional Court in Warsaw on 24 May 2019. In a press release issued immediately after the decision, TVP announced that it would appeal the case, see ⟨⟩, visited 21 August 2019.

5 In Bodnar’s case, he probably acted in his official capacity as Ombudsman, thus raising issues of his powers rather than his fundamental rights.

6 On the relationship between Art. 2 TEU and Art. 51 CFR see L.S. Rossi, ‘Il rapporto tra Trattato di Lisbona e Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell’UE’, in G. Bronzini et al. (eds.), Le scommesse dell’Europa (Ediesse 2009) p. 73.

7 See ECtHR [GC] 22 April 2013, Case No. 48876/08, Animal Defenders International v United Kingdom, paras. 102-103; ECtHR 26 November 1996, Case No. 17419/90, Wingrove v the United Kingdom, para. 58; ECtHR 8 July 1986, Case No. 9815/82, Lingens v Austria, para. 42.

8 ECJ 21 December 2016, Cases C-203/15 and C-698/15, Tele2 Sverige, EU:C:2016:970, para. 93; ECJ 6 September 2011, Case C-163/10, Patriciello, EU:C:2011:543, para. 31.

9 ECtHR [GC] 7 February 2012, Case No. 39954/08, Axel Springer AG v Germany, para. 90; ECtHR [GC] 22 October 2007, Case Nos. 21279/02 and 36448/02, Lindon, Otchakovsky-Laurens and July v France, para. 46; ECtHR [GC] 8 July 1999, Case Nos. 23927/94 and 24277/94, Sürek and Özdemir v Turkey, para. 46.

10 ECtHR [GC] 23 June 2016, Case No. 20261/12, Baka v Hungary, para. 159; ECtHR [GC] 23 April 2015, Case No. 29369/10, Morice v France, para. 125; ECtHR 15 July 2010, Case No. 34875/07, Roland Dumas v France, para. 43.

11 Opinion of Advocate General Tanchev, 20 June 2019, Case C-192/18, Commission v Poland, para. 72.

12 For the full argument, see the second section.

13 See ECJ 6 November 2018, Case C-684/16, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften, EU:C:2018:874, para. 59; ECJ 6 November 2018, Case C-569/16, Bauer, EU:C:2018:871, para. 26; ECJ 13 July 2016, Case C-187/15, Pöpperl, EU:C:2016:550, para. 43; ECJ 24 May 2012, Case C-282/10, Dominguez, EU:C:2012:33, para. 27; ECJ 5 October 2004, Cases C-397/01 to C-403/01, Pfeiffer and Others, EU:C:2004:584, paras. 114, 115; Leible, S. and Domröse, R., ‘Interpretation in Conformity with Primary Law’, in Riesenhuber, K. (ed.), European Legal Methology (Intersentia, 2017) § 8, para. 38 ff.

14 On the interpretation of Union law in conformity with values, see Potacs, M., ‘Wertkonforme Auslegung des Unionsrechts?’, 51 EuR (2016) p. 164 .

15 ECJ 27 February 2018, Case C-64/16, Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses, EU:C:2018:117; ECJ 25 July 2018, Case C-216/18 PPU, Minister for Justice and Equality, EU:C:2018:586.

16 See European Parliament, Resolution of 17 May 2017 on the situation in Hungary, 2017/2656(RSP); see further P. Bárd, ‘The rule of law and academic freedom or the lack of it in Hungary’, European Political Science (2018); Z. Enyedi, ‘Democratic Backsliding and Academic Freedom in Hungary’, 16 Perspectives on Politics (2018) p. 1067.

17 Generally, on the obligation of any public official to conform with EU law, see ECJ 4 December 2018, Case C-378/17, Garda Síochána, EU:C:2018:979, para. 38; ECJ 22 June 1989, Case C-103/88, Fratelli Costanzo, EU:C:1989:256, para. 32; ECJ 29 April 1999, Case C-224/97, Ciola, EU:C:1999:212, para. 30; see further Claes, M., The National Courts’ Mandate in the European Constitution (Hart Publishing 2006) p. 266 ff.

18 ECJ 22 October 1987, Case C-314/85, Foto-Frost, EU:C:1987:452; see further Lenaerts, K. et al., EU Procedural Law (Oxford University Press 2014) para. 3.43 ff.

19 ECJ 18 December 2014, Opinion 2/13, Accession of the EU to the ECHR, EU:C:2014:2454, para. 168.

20 Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses, supra n. 15, paras. 30-32.

21 ECJ 6 March 2018, Case C-284/16, Achmea, EU:C:2018:158, para. 34.

22 Minister for Justice and Equality, supra n. 15, paras. 35, 48, 50.

23 ECJ 10 December 2018, Case C-621/18, Wightman, EU:C:2018:999, paras. 62-63.

24 Act on the (Polish) Supreme Court of 8 December 2017, Journal of Laws (2018), 5.

25 See the Order of 19 October 2018 in Case C-619/18 R, Commission v Poland, EU:C:2018:852; for a more detailed reasoning, see Order of 17 December 2018 (EU:C:2018:1021).

26 See the pending preliminary references Miasto Łowicz v Skarb Państwa – Wojewoda Łódzki (C-558/18) and Prokuratura Okręgowa w Płocku v VX, WW, XV (C-563/18); see the similar reference in Prokuratura Rejonowa w Słubicach (C-623/18).

27 On the disciplinary measures against Polish judges, see e.g. the open letter from Krystian Markiewicz, President of the Polish Judges Association Iustitia, to Frans Timmermans on 13 February 2019, available at ⟨⟩, visited 21 August 2019. For an account of already launched disciplinary measures, see Justice Defence Committee (KOS), ‘A Country That Punishes. Pressure and Repression of Polish Judges and Prosecutors’ (February 2019); Amnesty International, ‘Poland: Free courts, free people, judges standing for their independence’ (4 July 2019) p. 11 ff., p. 22 ff.; Helsinki Foundation, ‘Disciplinary Proceedings against Judges and Prosecutors’ (February 2019) p 6 ff.; D. Mazur, ‘Judges under special supervision’, Themis Association of Judges, Report, 5 April 2019, p. 38 ff.; European Stability Initiative, ‘The disciplinary system for judges in Poland – The case for infringement proceedings’, ESI-Batory Legal Opinion, 22 March 2019.

28 The Prosecutor General and Minister of Justice have submitted a request to the Constitutional Tribunal asking it to assess whether Art. 267 TFEU, as far as it permits referring issues related to the system, form, and organisation of the judiciary, is in line with the Polish constitution (pending as Case K 7/18), see S. Biernat and M. Kawczyńska, ‘Though this be madness, yet there’s method in’t: Pitting the Polish Constitutional Tribunal against the Luxembourg Court’, Verfassungsblog, 26 October 2018.

29 Polish authorities (the Deputy Disciplinary Prosecutor for Common Courts) have already summoned several judges to submit written statements after they requested preliminary rulings on the conformity of the new disciplinary measures with EU law (supra n. 26), implying that they had committed a ‘juridical excess’; see Themis, ‘Position of The Association Of Judges, “Themis”, In Connection With The Disciplinary Actions Against The Authors Of The Questions Referred for Preliminary Rulings’, 15 December 2018, at ⟨⟩, visited 21 August 2019.

30 See e.g. the seminal contribution of M. Cappelletti, ‘“Who Watches the Watchmen?” A Comparative Study on Judicial Responsibility’, 31 American Journal of Comparative Law (1983) p. 1; for Germany, see M. Uebele, ‘§ 339 StGB’, in W. Joecks and Miebach (eds.), Münchener Kommentar zum StGB, 3rd edn. (C.H. Beck 2019); T. Singelnstein, Strafbare Strafverfolgung (Nomos 2019) p. 157 ff.; for France, see G. Canivet and J. Joly-Hurard, ‘La Responsabilité des Juges, Ici et Ailleurs’, 58 Revue International de Droit Comparé (2006) p. 1049; G. Bolard, ‘De la responsabilité pénale du juge’, 49 La Semaine Juridique (2005) p. 2247; for Spain, see L.M. Díez-Picazo, ‘Judicial Accountability in Spain: An Outline’, in G. Canivet et al. (eds.), Independence, Accountability and the Judiciary (BIICL 2006) p. 211; for Italy, see G. Fiandaca, ‘Sulla Responsabilità Penale del Giudice’, 132 Il Foro Italiano (2009) p. 409; A. Giuliani and N. Picardi, La Responsabilità Del Giudice (Giuffrè 1995); for Romania, see R. Coman and C. Dallara, ‘Judicial Independence in Romania’, in A. Seibert-Fohr (ed.), Judicial Independence in Transition (Springer 2012) p. 835, 863 ff.

31 For an application of that provision to judges (yet not a conviction) see e.g. Polish Supreme Court, 30 August 2013, SNO 19/13. On the questionable current use of Art. 231 with regard to judges, see the critical report of Mazur, supra n. 27, p. 26 ff.

32 See Opinion of Advocate General Colomer, 28 June 2001, Case C-17/00, De Coster, para. 93.

33 With regard to Art. 47 CFR, see recently Minister for Justice and Equality, supra n. 15, paras. 48, 54, 63-67; Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses, supra n. 15, paras. 42, 44; ECJ 14 June 2017, Case C-685/15, Online Games e. a., EU:C:2017:452, para. 60 ff.; ECJ 19 September 2006, Case C-506/04, Wilson, EU:C:2006:587, para. 49 ff.; on the importance of judicial independence under Art. 6 ECHR, see ECtHR [GC] 6 November 2018, Case No. 55391/13, Ramos Nunes De Carvalho v Portugal, para. 144 ff.; ECtHR [GC] 18 July 2013, Case No. 2312/08 and 34179 v 08, Maktouf and Damjanovic v Bosnia and Herzegovina, para. 49; ECtHR 21 July 2009, Case No. 34197/02, Luka v Romania, para. 37; ECtHR 3 March 2005, Case No. 54723/00, Brudnicka and Others v Poland, para. 41; ECtHR [GC] 6 June 2003, Case No. 39343/98, Kleyn and Others v the Netherlands, para. 190 ff.; ECtHR 24 November 1994, Case No. 15287/89, Beaumartin v France, para. 38; ECtHR 22 October 1984, Case No. 8790/79, Sramek v Austria, para. 38; ECtHR 28 June 1984, Case No. 7819/77, Campbell and Fell v the United Kingdom, para. 78; see further Müller, L.F., Richterliche Unabhängigkeit und Unparteilichkeit nach Art. 6 EMRK (Duncker & Humblot 2015).

34 On this general tension, see Rheinstein, M., ‘Who Watches the Watchmen?’, in Sayre, P. (ed.), Interpretations of Modern Legal Philosophy (Oxford University Press 1981) p. 589; Brüggemann, D., ‘Qui custodit custodem?’, in Brüggemann, D., Die Rechtsprechende Gewalt (De Gruyter 1961) p. 179; specifically on the criminal liability of judges, see M. Hoenigs, ‘Der Straftatbestand der Rechtsbeugung: Ein Normativer Antagonismus zum Verfassungsprinzip der richterlichen Unabhängigkeit’, 92 Kritische Vierteljahresschrift 92 (2009) p. 303; P.-A. Albrecht, ‘Die Kriminalisierung der Dritten Gewalt’, 37 Zeitschrift für Rechtspolitik (2004) p. 259.

35 On the importance of judicial immunity in Poland, see Polish Constitutional Tribunal, 28 November 2007, K 39/07; 2 May 2015, P 31/12; on the special procedure for lifting the judicial immunity, see A. Bodnar and L. Bojarski, ‘Judicial Independence in Poland’, in Seibert-Fohr, supra n. 30, p. 667, 716.

36 See Opinion of Advocate General Kokott, 30 April 2015, Case C-105/14, Taricco, EU:C:2015:293, para. 80 (emphasis added); see further ECJ 2 May 2018, Case C-574/15, Scialdone, EU:C:2018:295, para. 28; ECJ 19 July 2012, Case C-263/11, Rēdlihs, EU:C:2012:497, para. 44; ECJ 28 October 2010, Case C-367/09, SGS Belgium, EU:C:2010:648, para. 41; ECJ 3 May 2005, Cases C-387/02, C-391/02 and C-403/02, Berlusconi and Others, EU:C:2005:270, para. 65; ECJ 30 September 2003, Case C-167/01, Inspire Art, EU:C:2003:512, para. 62; ECJ 8 July 1999, Case C-186/98, Nunes and de Matos, EU:C:1999:376, para. 10; ECJ 27 February 1997, Case C-177/95, Ebony Maritime and Loten Navigation, EU:C:1997:89, para. 35; ECJ 26 October 1995, Case C-36/94, Siesse, EU:C:1995:351, para. 20; ECJ 10 July 1990, Case C 326/88, Hansen, EU:C:1990:291, para. 17; see further Lenaerts, K. and Gutiérrez-Fons, J.A., ‘The European Court of Justice and fundamental rights in the field of criminal law’, in Mitsilegas, V. et al. (eds.), Research Handbook on EU Criminal Law (Edward Elgar 2016) p. 7 ff.; Dougan, M., ‘From the Velvet Glove to the Iron Fist: Criminal Sanctions for the Enforcement of Union Law’, in Cremona, M. (ed.), Compliance and the Enforcement of EU Law (Oxford University Press 2012) p. 74; H. Satzger, Internationales und Europäisches Strafrecht, 8th edn. (Nomos 2018) p. 133-144; Heger, M., ‘Einwirkungen des Europarechts auf das nationale Strafrecht’, in Böse, M. (ed.), Europäisches Strafrecht, Enzyklopädie Europarecht, Vol 9 (Nomos 2013) § 5, para. 8 ff.

37 ECJ 21 September 1989, Case C-68/88, Commission v Greece, para. 22.

38 ECJ 30 September 2003, Case C-224/01, Köbler, EU:C:2003:513, para. 56; on this, see Z. Varga, ‘In Search of a “Manifest Infringement of the Applicable Law” in the Terms set out in Köbler’, 9 Review of European Administrative Law (2016) p. 5; J.-P. Terhechte, ‘Judicial Accountability and Public Liability – The German “Judges Privilege” Under the Influence of European and International Law’, 13 German Law Journal (2012) p. 313.

39 On the exceptional nature of these violations, see text to n. 122 ff infra.

40 On the construction of this applicability, see text to n. 64 ff infra.

41 On the duty to interpret in conformity with values, see text to n. 13 supra.

42 See on this Lenaerts et al., supra n. 18, paras. 5.70, 6.30 ff. (p. 244-246); Broberg, M. and Fenger, N., Preliminary References to the European Court of Justice, 2nd edn. (Oxford University Press 2014) p. 450 ff.; U. Karpenstein, ‘Art. 267 AEUV’, in E. Grabitz et al. (eds.), Das Recht der Europäischen Union, 65th edn. (C.H. Beck 2018) para. 104 ff; C.F. Germelmann, Die Rechtskraft von Gerichtsentscheidungen in der Europäischen Union (Mohr Siebeck 2009) p. 410 ff.; A. Trabucchi, ‘L’Effet “erga omnes” des décisions préjudicielles rendues par la Cour de justice des Communautés européennes’, 10 Revue trimestrielle de droit européen (1976) p. 56; against a legally binding force, see Schütze, R., European Union Law (Cambridge University Press 2018) p. 399 ff.

43 This is undoubtedly the case for courts of last instance, while a similar binding force (together with an obligation to refer) is discussed for lower courts, see Lenaerts et al., supra n. 18, para. 3.61; in favour, see Broberg and Fenger, supra n. 42, p. 265 ff.; H. Kanninen, ‘La marge de manoeuvre de la juridiction suprème nationale pour procéder à un renvoi préjudiciel à la Cour de justice des Communautés européennes’, in N. Colneric et al. (eds.), Une Communauté de droit (BWV 2003) p. 611, 613 ff.; against, see B. Wegener, ‘Art. 267 AEUV’, in C. Calliess and M. Ruffert (eds.), EUV/AEUV, 5th edn. (C.H. Beck 2016) para. 49.

44 Recent infringement proceedings by the Commission demonstrate that the conduct of courts (and even the disregard of the duty to refer under Art. 267(3) TFEU) is also subject to Art. 258 TFEU, see ECJ 4 October 2018, Case C-416/17, Commission v France, EU:C:2018:811, para. 100 ff.; see further ECJ 12 November 2009, Case C-154/08, Commission v Spain, EU:C:2009:695, para. 125; ECJ 9 December 2003, Case C-129/00, Commission v Italy, EU:C:2003:656, para. 29.

45 ECJ 5 December 2017, Case C-42/17, M.A.S. and M.B., EU:C:2017:936, para. 51 ff.; see further ECJ 3 May 2007, Case C-303/05, Advocaten voor de Wereld, EU:C:2007:261, para. 46; Timmerman, M., Legality in Europe: On the Principle Nullum Crimen, Nulla Poena Sine Lege in EU Law and Under the ECHR (Intersentia 2018) p. 147 ff.

46 In cases based on the general provisions of slander or defamation, a legal basis would still exist.

47 See recently ECtHR, 17 October 2017, Case No. 101/15, Navalnyye v Russia, para. 55 (emphasis added); see further ECtHR [GC] 27 January 2015, Case No. 59552/08, Rohlena v the Czech Republic, para. 51; ECtHR [GC] 22 March 2001, Case No. 37201/97, K.-H. W. v Germany, para. 45; ECtHR [GC] 22 March 2001, Case Nos. 34044/96, 35532/97 and 44801/98, Streletz, Kessler and Krenz v Germany, para. 50; ECtHR 22 November 1995, Case No. 20166/92, S.W. v the United Kingdom, para. 36; see also C. Grabenwarter and K. Pabel, Europäische Menschenrechtskonvention, 6th edn. (C.H. Beck 2016) § 24, para. 156; the ECJ employs a similar conception (‘reasonably foreseeable’), see ECJ 20 December 2017, Case C-102/16, Vaditrans, EU:C:2017:1012, para. 52; ECJ 22 October 2015, Case C-194/14 P, AC-Treuhand, EU:C:2015:717, para. 41; ECJ 28 June 2005, Cases C-189/02 P e.a., Dansk Rørindustri and Others v Commission, EU:C:2005:408, para. 217 ff; A. Eser, ‘Art. 49 GRC’, in J. Meyer (ed.), Charta der Grundrechte der Europäischen Union, 4th edn. (Nomos 2014), para. 25.

48 On the trust of national judges in the ECJ, see J. Mayoral, ‘In the CJEU Judges Trust: A New Approach in the Judicial Construction of Europe’, 55 JCMS (2016) p. 551.

49 So far, the authority of the ECJ has been spared (with a few exceptions) from the increasing backlash against international courts, see A. Hofmann, ‘Resistance against the Court of Justice of the European Union’, 14 International Journal of Law in Context (2018) p. 258.

50 M. Mendelski, ‘Das europäische Evaluierungsdezifit der Rechtsstaatlichkeit’, 44 Leviathan (2016) p. 366 at p. 391; J.E. Moliterno et al., Independence without Accountability: The Harmful Consequences of EU Policy Toward Central and Eastern European Entrants’, 42 Fordham International Law Journal (2018) p. 481; C. Parau, ‘The dormancy of parliaments: The invisible cause of judiciary empowerment in Central and Eastern Europe’, 49 Representation (2013) p. 267. Taking it to the extreme, see K.L. Scheppele, ‘Democracy by Judiciary (Or Why Courts Can Sometimes Be More Democratic Than Parliaments)’, in A. Czarnota et al. (eds.), Rethinking the Rule of Law in Post-Communist Europe (CEU Press 2005) p. 25.

51 On the risks of instrumentalising such procedures, see I. Müller, ‘Die Verwendung des Rechtsbeugungstatbestands zu politischen Zwecken’, 17 Kritische Justiz (1984) p. 119.

52 On such processes, see Eser, A. et al. (eds.), Strafrecht in Reaktion auf Systemunrecht: Vergleichende Einblicke in Transitionsprozesse. Teilband 14: Transitionsstrafrecht und Vergangenheitspolitik (Duncker & Humblot 2012).

53 A. von Bogdandy et al., ‘Reverse Solange – Protecting the Essence of Fundamental Rights Against EU member states’, 49 CML Rev (2012) p. 489; A. von Bogdandy et al., ‘A European Response to Domestic Constitutional Crisis: Advancing the Reverse Solange Doctrine’, in A. von Bogdandy and P. Sonnevend (eds.), Constitutional Crisis in the European Constitutional Area. Theory, Law and Politics in Hungary and Romania (Hart Publishing 2015) p. 235; A. von Bogdandy et al., ‘Protecting EU Values: Reverse Solange and the Rule of Law Framework’, in Jakab, A. and Kochenov, D. (eds.), The Enforcement of EU Law and Values (Oxford University Press 2017) p. 218. For an evaluation, see the discussion of Halberstam, D. et al. in Steinbeis, M. et al. (eds.), Gebändigte Macht: Verfassung im Europäischen Nationalstaat (Nomos 2015); for further discussions, see e.g. D. Sarmiento and E. Sharpston, ‘European Citizenship and Its New Union: Time to Move On?’, in D. Kochenov (ed.), EU Citizenship and Federalism: The Role of Rights (Cambridge University Press 2017) p. 226, 240; M. van den Brink, ‘The Origins and the Potential Federalising Effects of the Substance of Rights Test’, in Kochenov (ed.) supra, p. 85; J. Croon-Gestefeld, ‘Reverse Solange – Union Citizenship as a Detour on the Route to European Rights Protection Against National Infringements’, in Kochenov (ed.) supra, p. 371; M. Blauberger, ‘Europäischer Schutz gegen nationale Demokratiedefizite?’ 44 Leviathan (2016) p. 280, 289 ff.; C. Franzius, ‘Grundrechtsschutz in Europa – Zwischen Selbstbehauptungen und Selbstbeschränkungen der Rechtsordnungen und ihrer Gerichte’, 75 Zeitschrift für ausländisches Öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht (2015) p. 405; S. Iglesias Sánchez, ‘Fundamental Rights and Citizenship of the Union at Crossroads: A Promising Alliance or a Dangerous Liaison?’, 20 ELJ (2014) p. 477; Klatt, M., Die Praktische Konkordanz von Kompetenzen. Entwickelt anhand der Jurisdiktionskonflikte im europäischen Grundrechtsschutz (Mohr Siebeck 2014) p. 395-406; A.M. Russo, ‘La cittadinanza "sostanziale" dell’UE alla luce della proposta del gruppo di Heidelberg: verso una "reverse Solange"?’ 1 Federalismi (2014) p. 1; D. Kochenov, ‘On Policing Article 2 TEU Compliance – Reverse Solange and Systemic Infringements Analyzed’, 33 Polish Yearbook of International Law (2013) p. 145.

54 A. von Bogdandy et al., ‘Guest Editorial: A potential constitutional moment for the European rule of law – The importance of red lines’, 55 CML Rev (2018) p. 983.

55 See e.g. Corte Costituzionale, 18 December 1973, 183/1973, Frontini, para. 9; 5 June 1984, 170/1984, Granital, para. 7; 15 December 1988, 1146/1988, para. 2.1; 13 April 1989, 232/1989, Fragd, para. 3.1; more recently, see 19 March 2001, 73/2001, para. 3.1; 4 July 2007, 284/2007, para. 3; 13 February 2008, 102/2008, para. and the Order of 23 November 2016, 24/2017, para. 7 referring the Taricco case to the ECJ.

56 Bundesverfassungsgericht [BVerfG], 29 May 1974, 2 BvL 52/71, Solange I, para. 62; 22 October 1986, 2 BvR 197/83, Solange II, para. 132; 7 June 2000, 2 BvL 1/97, Bananenmarkt, para. 57.

57 On the different settings, see Tzanakopoulos, A., ‘Judicial dialogue in multilevel governance: the impact of the Solange Argument’, in Fauchald, O.K. and Nollkaemper, A. (eds.), The Practice of International and National Courts and the (De-)Fragmentation of International Law (Hart Publishing 2012) p. 185.

58 I. Canor, ‘My brother’s keeper? Horizontal Solange: “An ever closer distrust among the peoples of Europe”’, 50 CML Rev (2013) p. 383.

59 ECJ 3 September 2008, Cases C-402/05 P and C-415/05 P, Kadi, EU:C:2008:461, para. 256.

60 ECtHR [GC] 30 June 2005, Case No. 45036/98, Bosphorus v Ireland.

61 ECtHR [GC] 23 May 2016, Case No. 17502/07, Avotiņš v Latvia.

62 According to the Court, the Charter’s aim is primarily ‘to avoid a situation in which the level of protection of fundamental rights varies according to the national law involved in such a way as to undermine the unity, primacy and effectiveness of EU law’, see ECJ 16 February 2013, Case C-399/11, Melloni, EU:C:2013:107, para. 60; ECJ 6 March 2014, Case C-206/13, Siragusa, EU:C:2014:126, para. 32; for the locus classicus of this critique, see J. Coppel and A. O’Neill, ‘The European Court of Justice: Taking Rights Seriously?’, 29 CML Rev (1992) p. 669, 670; see also E. Spaventa, The Interpretation of Article 51 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (European Parliament, PETI-Committee, 2016) p. 21; M. Dougan, ‘Judicial Review of Member State Action Under the General Principle and the Charter: Defining the “Scope of Union Law”’, 52 CML Rev (2015) p. 1201 at p. 1240 ff.; Cremer, H.J., ‘Funktionen der Grundrechte’, in Grabenwarter, C. (ed.), Enzyklopädie Europarecht, Vol II: Europäischer Grundrechtsschutz (Nomos 2014) § 1 para. 127.

63 See, in rare agreement, European Commission, A new EU Framework to strengthen the Rule of Law, COM(2014) 158, p. 5 and Council of the European Union, Opinion of the Legal Service: Commission’s Communication on a new EU Framework to strengthen the Rule of Law: compatibility with the Treaties, 10296/14, para. 17; see further European Commission, Communication on Art. 7 of the Treaty on European Union. Respect for and promotion of the values on which the Union is based (15 October 2003), COM(2003) 606 final, p. 5; European Convention, Note from the Praesidium to the Convention, Draft of Articles 1 to 16 of the Constitutional Treaty (6 February 2003), CONV 528/03, p. 11; see further from literature e.g. M. Klamert and D. Kochenov, ‘Article 2 TEU’, in M. Kellerbauer et al. (eds.), The Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights – A Commentary (Oxford University Press 2019) p. 22, 25; M. Hilf and F. Schorkopf, ‘Art. 2 EUV’, in Grabitz et al., supra n. 42, para. 18; C. Calliess, ‘Art. 2 EUV’, in Calliess and Ruffert, supra n. 43, para. 10; Schorkopf, F., Homogenität in der Europäischen Union (Duncker & Humblot 2000) p. 69 ff.

64 Such uncertainties are provoked first and foremost by the Commission itself, European Commission, supra n. 1, para. 1: “The Commission, beyond [!] its task to ensure the respect of EU law, is also responsible … for guaranteeing the common values of the Union” (emphasis added); see e.g. Möllers, C. and Schneider, L., Demokratiesicherung in der Europäischen Union (Mohr Siebeck 2018) p. 125 doubting that it is possible to derive ‘legal obligation’ from ‘values’; similarly also E. Levits, ‘Die Europäische Union als Wertegemeinschaft’, in T. Jaeger (ed.), Europa 4.0 (Jan Sramek 2018) p. 239 at p. 263.

65 T. Dumbrovsky, ‘Beyond Voting Rights Suspension. Tailored Sanctions as Democracy Catalyst under Article 7 TEU’, in A. Hatje and L. Tichy (eds.), Liability of Member States for the Violation of Fundamental Values of the European Union (EuR-Beiheft 1/2018) p. 203.

66 On the tension between Art. 7 TEU and the rule of law, see M. Niedobitek, ‘Right and duty to pursue the “wrongdoer” and a possible abuse of Art. 7 TEU’, in Hatje and Tichy, supra n. 65, p. 233, 241.

67 In detail, see Hanschmann, F., Der Begriff der Homogenität in der Verfassungslehre und Europarechtswissenschaft (Springer 2008) p. 259 ff.; A. von Bogdandy, ‘Founding Principles’, in J. Bast and A. von Bogdandy (eds.), Principles of European Constitutional Law, 2nd edn. (C.H. Beck, Hart, Nomos 2010) p. 11; D. Kochenov, ‘The Acquis and Its Principles. The Enforcement of the “Law” versus the Enforcement of “Values” in the EU’, in Jakab and Kochenov, supra n. 53, p. 9; G. Toggenburg, ‘Cultural Diversity at the Background of the European Debate on Values’, in F. Palermo and G. Toggenburg (eds.), European Constitutional Values and Cultural Diversity (EURAC 2003) p. 9 at p. 13; on the need for a “non-controversial” and thus deliberately open set of values, see European Convention, supra n. 63.

68 ECJ 5 February 1963, Case C-26/62, van Gend en Loos, EU:C:1963:1; on the state of the art, see P. Craig and G. De Búrca, EU Law, 6th edn. (Oxford University Press 2015) p. 192.

69 In detail, see Wohlfahrt, C., Die Vermutung unmittelbarer Wirkung des Unionsrechts. Ein Plädoyer für die Aufgabe der Kriterien hinreichender Genauigkeit und Unbedingtheit (Springer 2016). There are exceptions to direct effect, but they are infrequent.

70 A preliminary reference by a Bulgarian court gives an opportunity for clarifying these issues. The question is whether a member state court can ‘directly invoke and directly apply Article 2 TEU’ if it finds that a national law infringes upon a Union value; see reference by the District Court Vidin from 17 October 2018, Corporate Commercial Bank en liquidation, C-647/18.

71 ECJ 8 March 2011, Case C-34/09, Ruiz Zambrano, EU:C:2011:124, para. 42.

72 For early proposals of linking fundamental rights to citizenship, see Advocate General Jacobs, 9 December 1992, Case C-168/91, Konstantinidis, para. 46; Advocate General Maduro, 12 September 2007, Case C-380/05, Centro Europa 7, paras. 16-22; Advocate General Colomer, 15 May 2008, Case C-228/07, Petersen, para. 27; see further O’Leary, S., ‘The Relation Between Community Citizenship and the Protection of Fundamental Rights in Community Law’, 32 CML Rev (1995) p. 540 ; D. O’Keeffe and A. Bavasso, ‘Fundamental Rights and the European Citizen’, in M. La Torre (ed.), European Citizenship: An Institutional Challenge (Kluwer Law 1998) p. 251; P. Eeckhout, ‘The EU Charter of fundamental rights and the federal question’, 39 CML Rev (2002) p. 945, 969 ff.; E. Spaventa, ‘Seeing the wood despite the trees?’, 45 CML Rev (2008) p. 13, 39-44; M. Benlolo Carabot, Les Fondements Juridiques de la Citoyenneté (Bruylant 2008) p. 606, 614 ff.; critically, see van den Brink, M., ‘EU citizenship and (fundamental) rights: Empirical, normative, and conceptual problems’, 25 ELJ (2019) p. 21.

73 For a strong critique of linking fundamental rights and citizenship, see K. Lenaerts and J.A. Gutiérrez-Fons, ‘Epilogue on EU Citizenship: Hopes and Fears’, in Kochenov, supra n. 53, p. 751 at p. 771 ff.; K. Lenaerts, ‘EU Citizenship and Democracy’, 7 New Journal of European Criminal Law (2016) p. 164 at p. 171; ibid., ‘Linking EU Citizenship to Democracy’, 11 Croatian Yearbook of European Law and Policy (2015) p. VII, XVI.

74 E. Spaventa, ‘Earned Citizenship – Understanding Union Citizenship through its Scope’, in Kochenov, supra n. 53, p. 204, 205.

75 ECJ 15 November 2011, Case C-256/11, Dereci and Others, EU:C:2011:734, para. 64; ECJ 5 May 2011, Case C-434/09, McCarthy, EU:C:2011:277; ECJ 8 May 2013, Case C-87/12, Ymeraga, EU:C:2013291, para. 37; ECJ 18 November 2012, Case C-40/11, Iida, EU:C:2012:69, para. 72; for a critical overview, see A. Tryfonidou, ‘(Further) Signs of a Turn of the Tide in the CJEU’s Citizenship Jurisprudence’, 20 Maastricht Journal (2013) p. 302; Spaventa, supra n. 74, p. 208-221.

76 See e.g. ECJ 11 November 2014, Case C-333/13, Dano, EU:C:2014:2358; ECJ 15 September 2015, Case C-67/14, Alimanovic, EU:C:2015:597; ECJ 14 June 2016, Case C-308/14, Commission v the United Kingdom, EU:C:2016:436; D. Thym, ‘Introduction: The Judicial Deconstruction of Union Citizenship’, in D. Thym (ed.), Questioning Citizenship (Hart 2017) p. 1, 2 ff.; A. Iliopolou-Penot, ‘Deconstructing the Former Edifice of Union Citizenship? The Alimanovic Judgement’, 53 CML Rev (2016) p. 1007, 1015 ff.; A. Farahat, ‘Solidarität und Inklusion: Umstrittene Dimensionen der Unionsbürgerschaft’, 69 Die Öffentliche Verwaltung (2016) p. 45; S. Peers, ‘Benefits for EU Citizens: A U-Turn by the Court of Justice’, 74 The Cambridge Law Journal (2015) p. 195 at p. 196; for possible explanations, see M. Blauberger et al., ‘ECJ Judges read the morning papers. Explaining the turnaround of European citizenship jurisprudence’, 25 Journal of European Public Policy (2018) p. 1422; Šadl, U. and Madsen, M.R., ‘Did the financial crisis change European citizenship law? An analysis of citizenship rights adjudication before and after the financial crisis’, 22 ELJ (2016) p. 40.

77 To borrow an expression from J.H.H. Weiler, ‘On the power of the Word: Europe’s constitutional iconography’, 3 ICON (2005) p. 173.

78 For a first articulation of this idea, see L.D. Spieker, ‘From Moral Values to Legal Obligations – On How to Activate the Union’s Common Values in the EU Rule of Law Crisis’, MPIL Research Paper No. 2018-24, p. 25.

79 K. Lenaerts and J.A. Gutierrez-Fons, ‘To Say What the Law of the EU is: Methods of Interpretation and the European Court of Justice’, 20 Columbia Journal of European Law (2014) p. 3, 17. In German, it is also called rechtsgrundsatzkonforme Auslegung, see Martens, S.A.E., Methodenlehre des Unionsrechts (Mohr Siebeck, 2013) p. 443.

80 See the subsequent clarification in ECJ 24 June 2019, Case C-619/18 R, Commission v Poland, EU:C:2019:531, para. 51.

81 For a thorough comparative analysis, see Seibert-Fohr, supra n. 30.

82 Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses, supra n. 15, para. 36.

83 Ibid., para. 29 (emphasis added).

84 See for this interpretation K. Lenaerts, ‘On Judicial Independence and the Quest for National, Supranational and Transnational Justice’, in G. Selvik et al. (eds.), The Art of Judicial Reasoning (Springer 2019) p. 155; T. von Danwitz, Values and the rule of law: Foundation of the European Union’, Revue du droit de l’Union européenne (2018) (4) p. 263; Levits, supra n. 64, p. 268; see further L. Pech and S. Platon, ‘Judicial Independence under threat: The Court of Justice to the rescue in the ASJP case’, 55 CML Rev (2018) p. 1827 at p. 1837; M. Bonelli and M. Claes, ‘Judicial serendipity: How Portuguese judges came to the rescue of the Polish judiciary’, 14 EuConst (2018) p. 622 at p. 630-632; A. Miglio, ‘Indipendenza del giudice, crisi dello stato di diritto e tutela giurisdizionale effettiva negli Stati membri dell’Unione europea’, 12 Diritti Umani e Diritto Internazionale (2018) p. 421 at p. 426; T. Giegerich, ‘Die Unabhängigkeit der Gerichte als Strukturvorgabe der Unionsverfassung und ihr effektiver Schutz vor autoritären Versuchungen in den Mitgliedstaaten’, 22 ZEuS (2019) p. 61 at p. 76. On the implications emerging from this statement, see L.D. Spieker, ‘Commission v. Poland – A Stepping Stone Towards a Strong “Union of Values”?’, Verfassungsblog, 30 May 2019.

85 See e.g. M. Borowsky, ‘Art. 51 – Anwendungsbereich’, in Meyer, supra n. 47, para. 30b; D. Sarmiento, ‘Who’s Afraid of the Charter? The Court of Justice, National Courts and the New Framework of Fundamental Rights Protection in Europe’, 50 CML Rev (2013) p. 1267 at p. 1279; T. von Danwitz and K. Paraschas, ‘A Fresh Start for the Charter’, 35 Fordham International Law Journal (2012) p. 1396 at p. 1409; C. Ladenburger, ‘European Union Institutional Report’, in J. Laffranque (ed.), Protection of Fundamental Rights Post-Lisbon. Reports of the XXV FIDE Congress (Tartu University Press 2012) p. 141 at p. 163; A. Rosas, ‘When is the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights Applicable at National Level?’, 19 Jurisprudence (2012) p. 1269 at p. 1284; M. Safjan, ‘Fields of application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and constitutional dialogues in the European Union’, EUI Distinguished Lecture 2014/02, p. 4 ff.; S. Peers, ‘The Rebirth of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights’, 13 CYELS (2013) p. 283 at p. 298.

86 Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses, supra n. 15, para. 43 (emphasis added).

87 See similarly the interpretation of von Danwitz, supra n. 84.

88 van Gend en Loos, supra n. 68; regarding the essential position of the preliminary reference procedure in the EU legal order, see further, Achmea, supra n. 21, para. 36; Accession of the EU to the ECHR, supra n. 19, para. 176; ECJ 8 March 2011, Opinion 1/09, Agreement creating a Unified Patent Litigation System, EU:C:2011:123, paras. 84-85.

89 See ECJ 9 March 1978, Case C-106/77, Simmenthal, EU:C:1978:49; ECJ 23 April 1986, Case C-294/83, Les Verts, EU:C:1986:166; more recently Agreement creating a Unified Patent Litigation System, supra n. 88, para. 80; see on this A. Rosas, ‘The National Judge as EU Judge’, in P. Cardonnel et al. (eds.), Constitutionalising the EU Judicial System (Hart Publishing 2012) p. 105; R. Baratta, ‘National Courts as “Guardians” and “Ordinary Courts” of EU Law: Opinion 1/09 of the ECJ’, 38 Legal Issues of Economic Integration (2011) p. 297.

90 For cases, in which the ECJ actually assessed the independence of the referring entity, see ECJ 6 October 2015, Case C-203/14, Consorci Sanitari del Maresme, EU:C:2015:664, para. 19; ECJ 9 October 2014, Case C-222/13, TDC, EU:C:2014:2265, paras. 28-36; ECJ 17 July 2014, Case C-58/13 and C-59/13, Torresi, EU:C:2014:2088, paras. 18-25; ECJ 14 May 2008, Case C-109/07, Pilato, EU:C:2008:274, paras. 21-30; ECJ 19 September 2006, Case C-506/04, Wilson, EU:C:2006:587; ECJ 31 May 2005, Case C-53/03, Syfait, EU:C:2005:333, paras. 29, 31; ECJ 30 May 2002, Case C-516/99, Schmid, EU:C:2002:313, paras. 35; ECJ 6 July 2000, Case C-407/98, Abrahamsson and Anderson, EU:C:2000:367, paras. 29-37; ECJ 4 February 1999, Case C-103/97, Köllensperger and Atzwanger, EU:C:1999:52, paras. 19-24; ECJ 17 September 1997, Case C-54/96, Dorsch Consult, EU:C:1997:413, paras. 34-36; more generally, see Broberg and Fenger, supra n. 42, p. 62 ff.

91 M. Krajewski, ‘Who is Afraid of the European Council? The Court of Justice’s Cautious Approach to Independence of Domestic Judges’, 14 EuConst (2018) p. 792 at p. 808 ff.; Pech and Platon, supra n. 84, p. 1835-1836.

92 Opinion of Advocate General Jacobs, 21 March 2002, Case C-50/00 P, Unión de Pequeños Agricultores v Council, paras. 36-49.

93 Tridimas, T., ‘The Court of Justice in the European Union’, in Schütze, R. and Tridimas, T. (eds.), Oxford Principles of European Union Law (Oxford University Press 2018) p. 581 at p. 582584 ; ibid., ‘Bifurcated Justice: The Dual Character of Judicial Protection in EU Law’, in Rosas, A. et al. (eds.), The Court of Justice and the Construction of Europe (Asser Press 2013) p. 367 .

94 Lenaerts, supra n. 84, p. 158.

95 See K. Lenaerts, ‘The Rule of Law and Coherence of the Judicial System of the European Union’, 44 CML Rev (2007) p. 1625 at p. 1629-1630.

96 See Jaeger, T., ‘Gerichtsorganisation und EU-Recht: Eine Standortbestimmung’, 53 EuR (2018) p. 611 at p. 615 ff.

97 S. Schill and C. Krenn, ‘Art. 4 EUV’, in Grabitz et al., supra n. 42, in para. 102 ff.; Jaeger, supra n. 96, p. 615 ff.

98 Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses, supra n. 15, para. 32 (emphasis added).

99 von Bogdandy et al., supra n. 54, p. 985.

100 For an approach relying directly on Art. 2 TEU see C. Hillion, ‘Overseeing the Rule of Law in the EU: Legal Mandate and Means’, in C. Closa and D. Kochenov (eds.), Reinforcing Rule of Law Oversight in the European Union (Cambridge University Press 2016) p. 59 at p. 66 ff.; similarly K.L. Scheppele, ‘Enforcing the Basic Principles of EU Law through Systemic Infringement Actions’, in Closa and Kochenov, ibid., p. 105; Skouris, V., Demokratie und Rechtsstaat. Europäische Union in der Krise? (C.H. Beck 2018) p. 50 .

101 For first sketches, see Closa, C. and Kochenov, D., ‘Reinforcing the Rule of Law Oversight in the European Union: Key Options’, in Schroeder, W. (ed.), Strengthening the Rule of Law in Europe (Hart Publishing 2016) p. 173 at p. 182184 ; Pech, L. et al., An EU Mechanism on Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights (European Parliament, EPRS 2016) p. 198 ; Cannizzaro, E., ‘I ruolo della Corte di giustizia nella tutela dei valori dell’Unione europea’, in Liber Amicorum Antonio Tizzano (Giappichelli 2018) p. 159 .

102 See supra n. 63.

103 See Spieker, supra n. 78, p. 25.

104 Commission v Poland, supra n. 80, para. 47; Opinion of Advocate General Tanchev, 20 June 2019, Case C-192/18, Commission v Poland, para. 71: ‘the second subparagraph of Article 19(1) TEU, a specific manifestation on the foundational values reflected in Article 2 TEU’ (emphasis added); Opinion of Advocate General Tanchev, 27 June 2019, Cases C-585/18, C-624/18 & C-625/18, Krajowa Rada Sądownictwa (Indépendance de la chambre disciplinaire de la Cour suprême, para. 77.

105 Commission v Poland, supra n. 80, para. 43.

106 Lenaerts, K., ‘The Court’s Outer and Inner Selves: Exploring the External and Internal Legitimacy of the European Court of Justice’, in Adams, M. et al. (eds.), Judging Europe’s Judges (Hart Publishing 2013) p. 13 at p. 46; see also the ‘three‐steps‐forward‐one‐step‐backward‐and‐everybody‐happy technique’ in H. Rasmussen, ‘On Legal Normative Dynamics and Jurisdictional Dialogue in the Field of Community General Principles of Law’, in U. Bernitz and J. Nergelius (eds.), General Principles of European Community Law (Kluwer Law 2000) p. 35 at p. 40.

107 Minister for Justice and Equality, supra n. 15, para. 60, on the judgment, see the symposium ‘The CJEU’s Deficiencies Judgment’ on Verfassungsblog, at ⟨⟩, visited 21 August 2019.

108 On the interpretation of Article 51(1) CFR, see ECJ 26 February 2013, Case C-617/10, Åkerberg Fransson, EU:C:2013:105, para. 18 ff.; for an attempt to systematise the meandering post-Fransson case law, see Advocate General Bobek, 7 September 2017, Case C-298/16, Ispas, para. 29 ff.; for a comprehensive account of the case law post-CFR, see Lazzerini, N., La Carta dei Diritti Fondamentali dell’Unione Europea. I Limiti di Applicazione (FrancoAngeli 2018) p. 183 ff.; R. Stotz, ‘Aktuelle Rechtsprechung zur EU-Charta der Grundrechte’, 20 ZEuS (2017) p. 259; Dougan, supra n. 62; Sarmiento, supra n. 85; Hancox, E., ‘The meaning of “implementing” EU law under Article 51(1) of the Charter: Åkerberg Fransson’, 50 CML Rev (2013) p. 1411 .

109 Being a preliminary ruling procedure, the ECJ refrained from applying the law itself; on this see von Bogdandy et al., supra n. 54, p. 992. However, the Court can also fully assess the conditions in the issuing member state, see ECJ 21 December 2011, Cases C-411/10 and C-493/10, N.S., EU:C:2011:865; ECJ 25 July 2018, Case C-220/18 PPU, Generalstaatsanwaltschaft (Conditions de détention en Hongrie), EU:C:2018:589.

110 See also with regard to other mutual recognition regimes (e.g. Dublin), Canor, supra n. 58, p. 395-396.

111 Minister for Justice and Equality, supra n. 15, para. 48.

112 On this nexus, see also Wendel, M., ‘Mutual Trust, Essence and Federalism – Between Consolidating and Fragmenting the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice after LM’, 15 EuConst (2019) p. 17 at p. 2729 .

113 See Lenaerts and Gutiérrez-Fons, supra n. 73, p. 774.

114 See e.g. Minister for Justice and Equality, supra n. 15, para. 70 ff.

115 See e.g. Schmidt, M. and Bogdanowicz, P., ‘The Infringement Procedure in the Rule of Law Crisis: How to Make Effective Use of Art. 258 TFEU’, 55 CML Rev (2018) p. 1061 at p. 10691073 ; Hillion, supra n. 100, p. 71-73; Kochenov, supra n. 67, p. 11; Müller, J-W, ‘Should the EU Protect Democracy and the Rule of Law inside Member States?’, 21 ELJ (2015) p. 141 at p. 146; Scheppele, supra n. 100, p. 114; M. Waelbroeck and P. Oliver, ‘La Crise de l’État de Droit dans l’Union Européenne: Que Faire?’, 26 Cahiers de droit européen (2017) p. 299 at p. 335; Skouris, supra n. 100, p. 50 ff.; Hilf and Schorkopf, supra n. 63, para. 46; C. Franzius, ‘Der Kampf um Demokratie in Polen und Ungarn’, 71 Die Öffentliche Verwaltung (2018) p. 381 at p. 386; for an exclusion of Art. 2 TEU from the Court’s jurisdiction, Levits, supra n. 64, p. 262; S.F. Nicolisi, ‘The Contribution of the Court of Justice to the Codification of the Founding Values of the European Union’, 51 Revista de Derecho Comunitario Europeo (2015) p. 613 at p. 643; Martenczuk, B., ‘Art. 7 EUV und der Rechtsstaatsrahmen als Instrument der Wahrung der Grundwerte der Union’, in Kadelbach, S. (ed.), Verfassungskrisen in der Europäischen Union (Nomos 2018) p. 41 at p. 46 ff.; on Art. 269 TFEU as ‘unconstitutional constitutional law’, see Giegerich, supra n. 84, p. 80.

116 According to Art. 46(d) TEU (Nice version) the ECJ was only competent for what was then Art. 6(2) TEU (Nice) but not for the ‘principles’ laid down in Art. 6(1) TEU (Nice). But even then, those principles were relevant, see Kadi, supra n. 59, para. 303.

117 F. Schorkopf, ‘Wertesicherung in der Europäischen Union. Prävention, Quarantäne und Aufsicht als Bausteine eines Rechts der Verfassungskrise?’, 51 EuR (2016) p. 147.

118 See especially the Opinion of Advocate General Tanchev in the recent infringement procedure against Poland, see Opinion of 11 April 2019, Case C-619/18 R, Commission v Poland, para. 50.

119 For the centralising potential of fundamental rights, see generally Frowein, J.A. et al., ‘The Protection of Fundamental Human Rights as a Vehicle of Integration’, in Cappelletti, M. et al. (eds.), Integration Through Law, Vol I/3 (Nomos 1986) p. 231 ; with regard to EU fundamental rights, see Huber, P.M., ‘Unitarisierung durch Gemeinschaftsgrundrechte – Zur Überprüfungsbedürftigkeit der ERT-Rechtsprechung’, 43 EuR (2008) p. 190 ; Eeckhout, supra n. 72; A. von Bogdandy, ‘Zweierlei Verfassungsrecht’, 39 Der Staat (2000) p. 163 at p. 168, 183.

120 For a critique, see P.M. Huber, ‘Auslegung und Anwendung der Charta der Grundrechte’, 64 Neue Juristische Wochenschrift (2011) p. 2385; ibid., ‘Grundrechtsschutz in Europa – Vermehrung, Verunsicherung, Kohärenz’, in Biaggini, G. et al. (eds.), Festschrift für Daniel Thürer (Nomos 2015) p. 305 .

121 See supra n. 108.

122 See similarly, Bosphorus v Ireland, supra n. 60, para. 155.

123 Solange II, supra n. 56.

124 Bananenmarkt, supra n. 56, para. 57.

125 See von Bogdandy et al., supra n. 53, p. 510; Hilf and Schorkopf, supra n. 63, para. 36.

126 See similarly Hanschmann, supra n. 67, p. 248 ff.

127 W. Schroeder, ‘The European Union and the Rule of Law – State of Affairs and Ways of Strengthening’, in Schroeder, supra n. 101, p. 3 at p. 11.

128 European Convention, supra n. 63, p.11: ‘This Article can thus only contain a hard core of values meeting two criteria at once: on the one hand, they must be so fundamental that they lie at the very heart of a peaceful society practicing tolerance, justice and solidarity; on the other hand, they must have a clear non-controversial legal basis so that the member states can discern the obligations resulting therefrom which are subject to sanction’ (emphasis added).

129 Schmidt and Bogdanowicz, supra n. 115, p. 1081.

130 See von Bogdandy et al., supra n. 54; see for similar narrow conceptions Voßkuhle, A., The Idea of the European Community of Values (Thyssen Lecture 2017) p. 108 at p. 117 (‘essential content’); G. Toggenburg and J. Grimheden, ‘Managing the Rule of Law in a Heterogeneous Context: A Fundamental Rights Perspective on Ways Forward’, in Schroeder, supra n. 101, p. 221 (‘minimum constitutional cohesion’); T.-P. Holterhus and D. Kornack, ‘Die materielle Struktur der Unionsgrundwerte. Auslegung und Anwendung des Art. 2 EUV im Lichte aktueller Entwicklungen in Rumänien und Ungarn’, 41 EuGRZ (2014) p. 389 (‘Kern’).

131 See, in more detail, von Bogdandy et al., supra n. 53, p. 510 ff.; on the notion of ‘essence’, see further M. Brkan, ‘The Concept of Essence of Fundamental Rights in the EU Legal Order: Peeling the Onion to its Core’, 14 EuConst (2018) p. 332; more cautiously, see Wendel, supra n. 112, p. 32-35; sceptical, see M. Cornils, ‘Schrankendogmatik’, in Grabenwarter, supra n. 62, § 5 para. 104 ff.; Hilf, M., ‘Die Schranken der EU Grundrechte’, in Merten, D. and Papier, H.J. (eds.), Handbuch der Grundrechte, Vol VI/1: Europäische Grundrechte I (C.F. Müller 2010) § 164 para. 62.

132 ECJ 5 April 2016, Cases C-404/15 and C-659/15 PPU, Aranyosi and Căldăraru, EU:C:2016:198, para. 82 ff.

133 See Accession of the EU to the ECHR, supra n. 19, para. 168; Minister for Justice and Equality, supra n. 15, para. 35; Achmea, supra n. 21, para. 34.

134 Minister for Justice and Equality, supra n. 15, paras. 59-60.

135 N.S., supra n. 109; see further Melloni, supra n. 62, paras. 37 and 63; Accession of the EU to the ECHR, supra n. 19, para. 191.

136 For a sophisticated analysis of such effects, see Somek, A., ‘The Argument from Transnational Effects I: Representing Outsiders through Freedom of Movement’, 16 ELJ (2010) p. 315 .

137 See the wording in Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses, supra n. 15, para. 30; Minister for Justice and Equality, supra n. 15, para. 35.

138 Müller, supra n. 115, p. 145.

139 F. Meyer, ‘Der Grundsatz gegenseitigen Vertrauens – Konzeptualisierung und Zukunftsperspektiven eines neuen Verfassungsprinzips’, 52 EuR (2017) p. 163 at p. 179 ff.; M. Fartunova, ‘La coopération loyale vue sous le prisme de la reconnaissance mutuelle: quelques réflexions sur les fondements de la construction européenne’, 52 Cahiers de droit européen (2016) p. 193; C. Janssens, The Principle of Mutual Recognition in EU Law (Oxford University Press 2013) p. 151 ff.; on the intrinsic link between the principles of mutual trust and loyalty, see S. Prechal, ‘Mutual Trust Before the Court of Justice of the European Union’, 2 European Papers (2017) p. 75 at p. 90-92; D. Gerard, ‘Mutual Trust as Constitutionalism?’, in E. Brouwer and D. Gerard (eds.), Mapping Mutual Trust: Understanding and Framing the Role of Mutual Trust in EU Law (EUI 2016) p. 69 at p. 76; see also K. Lenaerts, ‘La vie après l´avis: Exploring the principle of mutual (yet not blind) trust’, 54 CML Rev (2017) p. 805 at p. 807 who derives it from the principle of equality between the member states; for a theoretical underpinning, see T. Wischmeyer, ‘Generating Trust Through Law? Judicial Cooperation in the European Union and the “Principle of Mutual Trust”’, 17 German Law Journal (2017) p. 339 at p. 347; M. Schwarz, ‘Let’s talk about trust, baby! Theorizing trust and mutual recognition in the EU’s area of freedom, security and justice’, 24 ELJ (2018) p. 124.

140 ECJ 16 October 2003, Case C-339/00, Ireland v Commission, EU:C:2003:545, para. 72: ‘the duty to cooperate in good faith is, by its very nature, reciprocal’.

141 Lenaerts, supra n. 139.

142 von Bogdandy et al., supra n. 53, p. 513; in more detail concerning systemic deficiencies in the rule of law, see A. von Bogdandy and M. Ioannidis, ‘Systemic deficiency in the rule of law: What it is, what has been done, what can be done’, 51 CML Rev (2014) p. 59; on the importance of this concept, see also Wendel, supra n. 112, p. 37-40.

143 See ECJ, Press Release No. 113/18, at ⟨⟩, visited 21 August 2019.

144 See e.g. N.S., supra n. 109, paras. 86, 89; see further Minister for Justice and Equality, supra n. 15, para. 61; Aranyosi and Căldăraru, supra n. 132, para. 89; Generalstaatsanwaltschaft (Conditions de détention en Hongrie), supra n. 109, para. 60; see, however, the recent judgments in ECJ 19 March 2019, Case C-163/17, Jawo, EU:C:2019:218, para. 87 ff. and ECJ 19 March 2019, Case C-297/17, Ibrahim, EU:C:2019:219, para. 87 ff. where the Court seems to depart from that notion.

145 With regard to Art. 7(2) TEU (‘serious and persistent breach’), see European Commission, supra n. 63, para. 4.1; with regard to rule of law conditionality in the EU budget, see European Commission, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of the Union’s budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the member states, COM/2018/324 final, Art. 2(b): “generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law’ means a widespread or recurrent practice or omission, or measure by public authorities which affects the rule of law”; see also the pilot judgments in the Council of Europe, J. Czepek, ‘The Application of the Pilot Judgment Procedure and Other Forms of Handling Large-Scale Dysfunctions in the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights’, 20 International Community Law Review (2018) p. 347; M. Susi, ‘The Definition of a “Structural Problem” in the Case-Law of the European Court of Human Rights since 2010’, 55 German Yearbook of International Law (2012) p. 385 at p. 413; Leach, P. et al., Responding to Systemic Human Rights Violations – An Analysis of Pilot Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and their Impact at National Level (Intersentia 2010).

* Director, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg.

** Research Fellow and PhD Candidate, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg. The authors wish to thank the Dienstagsrunde, Piotr Bogdanowicz, Christoph Burchard, Iris Canor, Pedro Cruz Villalón, Lukas Huthmann, Michael Ioannidis and Nicole Lazzerini for valuable critique. This paper has been presented at the conference ‘The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Member States’ (Mansfield College, Oxford, 22-23 March 2019). The first part draws on an earlier version published on Verfassungsblog.

Countering the Judicial Silencing of Critics: Article 2 TEU Values, Reverse Solange, and the Responsibilities of National Judges

  • Armin von Bogdandy and Luke Dimitrios Spieker


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