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‘A Missing Piece of European Emergency Law: Legal Certainty and Individuals’ Expectations in the EU Response to the Crisis’

  • Pablo Martín Rodríguez

The principle of legal certainty and legitimate expectations as a legal tool for individuals in EU law – the mixed nature of EU emergency law: the ‘conferral principle’ limitation and the ways to expand executive powers in the EU response to the crisis (Pringle, ESMA, BPP, OMT) – the existence of legal certainty failures in that response: unpredictable and disjointed legislation and adjudication – arguments blurring legal certainty as the standard of review for EU emergency law: conditionality, international law and indirect legislation – the self-restraint attitude of the European Court of Justice and the risks of leaving litigation under the sole remit of national courts: normalising emergency powers and EU law autonomy at stake

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Associate Professor in Public International Law and International Relations of the University of Granada ( I thank D. Sarmiento, M. López Escudero and the EuConst editorial board and the anonymous reviewer for their insightful comments on this contribution. I should also like to thank Bridgit McQue for helping me put these thoughts in comprehensible English. Of course all errors remain mine. This research has been done within the framework of the Project DER2014-57213 funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

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1 See Fossum, J.E. and Menéndez, A. (eds.), The European Union in Crises or the European Union as Crises?, ARENA Report No 2/14, ARENA 2014.

2 See the extensive bibliography analysed by Beukers, T., ‘Legal Writing(s) on the Eurozone Crisis’, EUI Working Papers, Law 2015/11, p. 19-39 .

3 See Venice Commission, Report on the Rule of Law, CDL-AD (2011) 003 rev, p. 10-11.

4 ECJ 24 October 2013, Case C-151/12, Commission v Spain, para. 28; ECJ 17 November 1993, Case C-71/92, Commission v Spain, para. 25; ECJ 1 July 2014, Case C-573/12, Ålands Vindkraft, paras. 125-128.

5 ECJ 12 February 2015, Case C-48/14, Parliament v Council, para. 45.

6 See Rodríguez, P. Martín, ‘The Principle of Legal Certainty and the Limits to the Application of EU Law’, Cahiers de droit européen (2016), forthcoming.

7 ECJ 5 May 2011, Joined Cases C-201/10 and C-202/10, Ze Fu Fleischhandel, paras. 35 and 52.

8 ECJ 11 December 2007, Case C-161/06, Skoma-Lux, paras. 32-34; ECJ 10 March 2009, Case C-405/06, Heinrich, paras. 42-46; and especially ECJ 12 July 2012, Case C-146/11, AS Pimix, in liquidation, para. 36.

9 ECJ 17 July 2014, Case C-472/12, Panasonic Italia SpA, paras. 57-58.

10 ECJ 28 April 1988, Case 120/86, Mulder v Minister van Landbouw en Visserij; ECJ 11 December 1990, Case C-189/89, Spagl.

11 See, e.g., ECJ 13 December 2013, Case C-226/11, Expedia, para. 28; ECJ 11 July 2013, Case C-439/11 P, Ziegler, paras. 59-60. An exhaustive review of the ECJ case law on legitimate expectations can be seen in Piernas, C. Jiménez and Vives, F.J. Pascual, ‘La tutela judicial del principio de protección de la confianza legítima en el Derecho de la Unión Europea’, in Riesgo regulatorio en las energías renovables Regulatory risk in renewable energies (Aranzadi 2015) p. 73 .

12 ECJ 19 May 1992, Cases C-104/89 and C-37/90, Mulder v Council and Commission, para. 19 and ECJ 27 January 2000, Cases C-104/89 and C-37/90, in Mulder v Council and Commission II.

13 ECJ 14 July 1994, Case C-91/92, Faccini Dori, para. 27; ECJ 8 October 1987, Case 80/86, Kolpinghuis, paras. 13-14; ECJ 28 June 2012, Case C-7/11, Fabio Caronna, paras. 52-56; and ECJ 16 June 2005, Case C-105/03, Maria Pupino, paras. 44-45.

14 See ECJ 4 September 2014, Case C-157/13, Nickel & Goeldner Spedition, para. 38; Opinion Jääskinen 23 April 2015, Case C-69/14, Târşia, points 34-46.

15 ECJ 12 December 2013, Case C-362/12, Test Claimants in the Franked Investment Income Group Litigation, paras. 44-49; ECJ 18 December 2014, Case C-640/13, Commission v UK, paras. 38-40.

16 The ECJ has so far not ruled on this question (ECJ 6 September 2011, Case C-108/10, Ivana Scattolon, para. 84), but there is clear case law of the ECtHR based on Art. 6.1 ECHR (ECtHR 15 April 2014, Stefanetti and others v Italy, paras. 38-44).

17 See A. von Bogdandy, Ioannidis, M., ‘Systemic deficiency in the rule of law: What it is, what has been done, what can be done’, 51 CMLR (2014) p. 59 ; Kilpatrick, C., ‘On the Rule of Law and Economic Emergency: The Degradation of Basic Legal Values in Europe’s Bailouts’, 35 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (2015) p. 325 ; Escudero, M. López, ‘La nueva gobernanza económica de la Unión Europea: ¿una auténtica unión económica en formación?’, 50 Revista de Derecho Comunitario Europeo (2015) p. 428-433 .

18 In particular, because these general principles cover all sorts of rights and legitimate expectations (not only fundamental rights) and protect all kinds of ‘individuals’ (not only human beings but also companies, financial entities, trade unions, NGOs, etc).

19 As Judge Gros once said: ‘Dire qu’un pouvoir est nécessaire, qu’il découle logiquement d’une certaine situation, est l’aveu de l’inexistence d’une justification juridique. Nécessité n’a pas de loi, dit-on; c’est en effet qu’on sort du droit lorsqu’on invoque la nécessité’ (Op. diss. Gros, CIJ 21 juin 1971, Conséquences juridiques pour les Etats de la présence continue de l’Afrique du Sud en Namibie (Sud-Ouest africain) nonobstant la résolution 276 (1970) du Conseil de sécurité, avis consultatif, Rec. 1971, p. 339, para. 30).

20 See Ramraj, V.V. (ed.), Emergencies and the Limits of Legality (Cambridge University Press 2008).

21 Meyler, B., ‘Economic Emergency and the Rule of Law’, 56 DePaul Law Review (2006-2007), p. 539 .

22 Scheuerman, W.E., ‘The Economic State of Emergency’, 21 Cardozo Law Review (1999-2000), p. 1869 .

23 See critically, including the current Schmittian fascination, in C. Joerges, ‘Europe’s economic constitution in crisis and the emergence of a new constitutional constellation’, in Fossum and Menéndez supra n. 1, p. 279 at p. 310). On other constitutional frameworks, see Ramraj, V.V., ‘Emergency Powers and Constitutional Theory’, 41 Hong Kong Law Journal (2011-2012), p. 165 .

24 See a review of those different regulations in Faggiani, V., ‘Los estados de excepción. Perspectiva desde el Derecho Constitucional Europeo’, 17 Revista de Derecho Constitucional Europeo (2012), p. 181 .

25 See Ferejohn, J. and Pasquino, P., ‘The law of the exception: A typology of emergency powers’, 2 I·CON (2004) p. 210 .

26 That is the reason that human rights treaties and constitutional emergency clauses coincide in restricting the space for emergency (see, on human rights treaties, Oráa, J. Oráa, Human Rights in States of Emergency in International Law (Clarendon Press 1992) and McGoldrick, D., ‘The interface between public emergency powers and international law’, 2 I·CON (2004) p. 380 ). Beyond those treaties, any parallel assessment is, in my opinion, incorrect, particularly with regard to economic emergencies in constitutions and international economic treaties (see infra n. 28).

27 On the technical prolongations and variety of treaty escape clauses, in extenso Rodríguez, P. Martín, Flexibilidad y tratados internacionales Flexibility and international treaties (Tecnos 2003) or Binder, C., ‘Stability and Change in Times of Fragmentation: The Limits of Pacta Sunt Servanda Revisited’, 25 Leiden Journal of International Law (2012) p. 909 .

28 See for this historical perspective, the classic works of Gori, P., Les clauses de sauvegarde dans les traités C.E.C.A. et C.E.E. (UGA 1967); Müller-Heidelberg, T., Schutzklauseln im Europäischen Gemeinschaftsrecht (Stiftung Europa-Kolleg 1970); Lejeune, M.A., Un droit des temps de crises: les clauses de sauvegarde de la CEE (Bruylant 1975); Accolti-Gil, A., ‘Il sistema normativo del Trattato CEE per la tutela degli interessi nazionali dopo la fine del periodo transitorio’, 17 Rivista di Diritto Europeo (1977) p. 111 and p. 239; and Weber, A., Schutznormen und Wirtschaftsintegration (Nomos Verlaggesellschaft 1982).

29 See, recently, Opinion Wahl, 16 February 2016, Case C-526/14, Kotnik, para. 79.

30 The private limb, i.e. the banking union, is not addressed here, see the recent comprehensive work of Hinojosa-Martínez, L.M. and Beneyto, J.M. (eds.), European Banking Union. The New Regime (Kluwer 2015).

31 ECJ 27 November 2012, Case C-370/12, Pringle.

32 Judgment in Pringle, paras. 111, 135, 136, 142.

33 See e.g. Schwarz, M., ‘A Memorandum of Misunderstanding. The Doomed Road of the European Stability Mechanism and a Possible Way Out: Enhanced Cooperation’, 51 CMLR (2014) p. 389 or Dimopoulos, A., ‘The Use of International Law as a Tool for Enhancing Governance in the Eurozone and its Impact on EU Institutional Integrity’, in M. Adams et al., (eds.), The Constitutionalization of European Budgetary Constraints (Hart Publishing 2014) p. 41 . I agree, however, with those who stress its usefulness ( De Witte, B., ‘Using International Law in the Euro Crisis. Causes and Consequences’, Arena Working Paper, 2013, no. 4 ). See, very critically, Ruffert, M., ‘The European Debt Crisis and European Union Law’, 48 CMLR (2011) p. 1777 .

34 The General Court has applied this case law in several orders dismissing annulment actions regarding the Cypriot ‘bailing-in’ (GC 14 October 2014, Case T-327/13, Mallis & Malli, para. 48 and 16 October 2014, Case T-289/13, Ledra Advertising, para. 45). Both cases are now pending before the ECJ (Cases C-105/15 P and C-8/15 P).

35 See these arguments developed in Rodríguez, P. Martín, ‘Legal Certainty After the Crisis: The Limits of European Legal Imagination’, in J. Schmidt et al. (eds.), EU law after the financial crisis (Intersentia 2016) p. 269 .

36 Especially if read with Biocides, where the ECJ has recognised that the EU legislature enjoys wide discretion when it decides to confer on the Commission a delegated power or an implementing power, confining judicial review to manifest errors of assessment (ECJ 18 March 2014, Case C-427/12, Commission v Parliament and Council (Biocides)).

37 ECJ 22 January 2014, Case C-270/12, United Kingdom v Parliament and Council (ESMA), paras. 41, 77-86. See an approving reading of this case law in Marjosola, H., ‘Bridging the Constitutional Gap in EU Executive Rule-Making: The Court of Justice Approves Legislative Conferral of Intervention Powers to European Securities Markets Authority’, 10 EuConst (2014) p. 500 .

38 Bergström, C.F., ‘Shaping the new system for delegation of powers to EU agencies: United Kingdom v. European Parliament and Council (Short selling) ’, 52 CMLR (2015) p. 241 .

39 Connecting this judgment with the Telefónica ruling, M. Costa, ‘The EU’s Financial Supervisory Authorities: Mind the Accountability Gap’, <>, visited 29 June 2016.

40 Opinion Jääskinen, 12 September 2013, Case C-270/12, United Kingdom v Parliament and Council (ESMA), points 50-53. In this case, the Advocate General argued that resort to Art. 352 TFEU was necessary (paras. 54-58).

41 This power has gone in parallel with the Council’s power to derogate based on exceptional circumstances (Art. 108.2 TFEU), also generously admitted by the ECJ in four identical judgments with regard to agricultural land state aids (see e.g., ECJ 4 December 2013, Case 111/10, Commission v Council).

42 See Rivarés, J.A Pérez, ‘El control de las ayudas de Estado como mecanismo de coordinación y su interrelación con otros instrumentos de integración positiva en la Unión Europea’, in A. Olesti Rayo (ed.), Crisis y Coordinación de las políticas económicas en la Unión Europea Crisis and economic policies' coordination in the European Union (Marcial Pons 2013), p. 167 , and the contributions of C. Quigley, ‘State Aid and the Financial Crisis’ and Ackerman, T., ‘State Aid for Banks in the Financial Crisis: The Commission’s New and Stronger Role’, in W.-G. Ringe and P. Huber (eds.), Legal Challenges in the Global Financial Crisis. Bail-outs, the Euro and Regulation (Hart Publishing 2014), p. 131 and p. 149, respectively.

43 ECJ 5 March 2015, Case C-667/13, Banco Privado Português, paras. 65-74. The ECJ did not justify this expanded power by the exceptional character of the situation.

44 Thus far provisional decisions of the Commission concerned the formal opening of an investigation not preventing the final decision and trumping any legitimate expectations of the beneficiary and the consequent obligations on the part of national courts (see ECJ 21 November 2013, Case C-284/12, Deutsche Lufthansa, paras. 24-45). But even in this context, the extension of judicial protection against these provisional acts stands out (ECJ 13 October 2011, Joined Cases C-463/10 P and C-475/10 P, Deutsche Post, paras. 50-60).

45 The Portuguese Government would never oppose the recovery of this ex post unlawful aid, which means that some money will go, at the expense of the rest of BPP’s creditors, to the Portuguese Treasury, even though no actual public disbursement ever took place (the state aid being a guarantee underwriting a loan).

46 This preliminary referral, made by the Slovenian Constitutional Court, concerns the requirement of burden-sharing set forth in the Banking Communication to allow states granting aid to restructure banks in distress. In his Opinion (supra n. 29), Advocate General Wahl clarifies the allocation of competences between Commission (assessing compatibility with the internal market), Council (legislating) and member states (aid activating and granting) under Art. 107(3)(b) TFEU. Consequently, the Banking Communication law binds the Commission but it cannot bind, de iure or de facto, state members nor exhaust the scope of that provision or contradict EU primary law. This conclusion has been endorsed by the ECJ: 8 March 2016, Case C-341/14 P, Greece v Commission, paras. 70-72. Furthermore, the excellent Opinion Wahl sets a delicate but legally solid balance in all the complex issues that are dealt with in this article: relationship between this emergency clause and European Monetary Union regulation (including the stability of the Euro area) and EU secondary law, identification and assessment of the standard of review (legitimate expectations and fundamental rights) or the necessary deferential comity to be observed towards national/constitutional courts.

47 Opinion Cruz 14 January 2015, Case C-62/14, Gauweiler (OMT), points 140-151.

48 ECJ 16 June 2015, Case C-62/14, Gauweiler (OMT), paras. 68-75.

49 GC 7 October 2015, Case T-79/13, Accorinti and Others v ECB, paras. 73-84.

50 See, for example, a review of this question in relation to Greece, Spain, Ireland and Italy in Coutts, S. et al., ‘Legal manifestations of the emergency in national Euro crisis law’, EUI Working Papers, Law 2015-14.

51 EFTA Court 28 January 2013, E-16/11, ESA v Iceland (Icesave). See Méndez-Pinedo, M.E., ‘The Icesave Saga: Iceland Wins Battle Before the EFTA Court, Michigan Journal of International Law Emerging Scholarship Project (2013); Helgadóttir, R., ‘Economic Crises and Emergency Powers In Europe’, 2 Harvard Business Law Review Online (2012) p. 130 .

52 ECtHR 7 May 2013, Cases Nos. 57665/12, 57657/12, Koufaki and Adedy v Greece, para. 49; ECtHR 8 October 2013, Cases Nos. 62235/12, 57725/12, Da Conceiçao Mateus and Santos Januário v Portugal, para. 30.

53 ECSR, Decision 7 December 2012 (publicity on 22 April 2013), Complaint No. 76/2012, IKA-ETAM v Greece, para. 80, <>, visited 29 June 2016.

54 ECJ 3 June 2008, Case C-308/06, Intertanko, para. 69.

55 Covering not only EU legislation but also member states’ when implementing it (e.g., ECJ 19 December 2013, Case C-281/11, Commission v Poland, para. 137).

56 Kilpatrick, supra n. 17, p. 333-344; López Escudero, supra n. 17, p. 428.

57 Especially if we consider that the general doctrinal assumption that the legal bases of this indeterminate competence have been exhausted goes pari passu with the sound fear that they (the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure or the Excessive Deficit Procedure) are incapable of guaranteeing the right outcome (see, among many others, López Escudero, supra n. 17, passim, especially p. 428-433 or Leino, P., Salminen, J., ‘Going “Belt and Braces” – Domestic Effects of Euro-Crisis Law’, EUI Working Papers, Law 2015/15, p. 3-19 .

58 See Costamagna, F., ‘The Impact of Stronger Economic Policy Co-ordination on the European Social Dimension: Issues of Legitimacy’, in M. Adams et al. (eds.), The Constitutionalization of European Budgetary Constraints (Hart Publishing 2014) p. 359-377 .

59 GC Order 27 November 2012, Case T-541/10, ADEDY v Council, para. 70.

60 ECJ 3 December 1992, Case C-97/91, Oleificio Borelli.

61 The measures enshrined in economic programmes are subject to economic and financial predictions, with the proviso that, in case they are not fulfilled, new measures and/or amendments will be needed. So a significant degree of uncertainty that might be linked to national implementing laws (including budgetary ones) is introduced.

62 See Bardutzky, S., Fahey, E., ‘Who Got to Adjudicate the EU’s Financial Crisis and Why? Judicial Review of the Legal Instruments of the Eurozone’, in Adams et al. (eds.), supra n. 58, p. 341-358 , at. p. 370.

63 The issue of legal certainty double standards is not exclusive to this topic (see Martín Rodríguez, supra n. 6, section D) but here the question becomes more complicated because it is uncertain whether or not the State is implementing EU law.

64 Supra n. 47, points 70-91.

65 Supra n. 48, paras. 27-29.

66 ‘Italy and Spain defend bank tax credits to Brussels’, Financial Times, 4 May 2015, <>, accessed 22 May 2015.

67 The Spanish Deferred Tax Assets scheme applied to the banking system, amounting to some €30 billion, see Financial Assistance Programme for the Recapitalisation of Financial Institutions in Spain, Fifth Review, Winter 2014, p. 15-16.

68 El País, 19 October 2015. Spain will introduce in the 2016 budget law a regulation whereby banks may still benefit from Deferred Tax Assets paying a fee (around €400 million). This solution has satisfied the Commission, which has closed the non-formal investigation. Spanish banks will use this possibility, as the fee is lower that the costs incurred if they were to seek that recapitalisation in the market. The problem remains: what would happen if an action against this system were tried in the Spanish courts?

69 See e.g. Kilpatrick, C. and De Witte, B. (eds.), ‘Social rights in Times of Crisis in the Eurozone: The Role of Fundamental Rights’ Challenges’, EUI Working Papers, Law 2014/05; and Fischer-Lescano, A., Human Rights in Times of Austerity Policy (Nomos 2014), also available at (which is the version used here), p. 7-31, visited 29 June 2016.

70 This was the case of the Spanish Royal Decree-Law 20/2012. After several proceedings in lower courts, the Supreme Court by Order of 2 April 2014 decided to refer to the Constitutional Court a reference for the review of constitutionality precisely based on the infringement of the constitutional prohibition of retroactive laws restricting individual rights. The Constitutional Court ruling is still pending.

71 See several contributions dealing with Portugal in Kilpatrick and De Witte (eds.), supra n. 69 p. 67-94.

72 European Committee of Social Rights in IKA-ETAM v Greece, para. 80, emphasis added.

73 ECtHR 23 September 2014, Case No. 46154/11, Valle Pierimpiè v Italy, para. 38.

74 ECtHR in Stefanetti and others v Italy, paras. 48-52.

75 ECtHR Da Conceiçao Mateus and Santos Januário v Portugal, paras. 26-29.

76 I cannot expand on the issue of judicial control tools used by international courts and their impact, see Martín Rodríguez, supra n. 27, p. 138-232, especially at p. 147-152 and 224-232.

77 A similar problem is posed by financial penalties or deposits within the economic policies’ coordinating competence, since both are intended to enforce EU law ( Bieber, R. and Majone, F., ‘Enhancing Centralized Enforcement of EU Law: Pandora’s Toolbox?’, 51 CMLR (2014) p. 1062 , especially at p. 1065-1068 for economic policy coordination).

78 Those cases, related to wage cuts for Romanian policemen and Portuguese public employees, were considered purely internal or at least cases where the member state was not implementing EU law. See e.g., ECJ 14 December 2011, Case C-434/11, Corpul Naţional al Poliţiştilor, paras. 14-15; ECJ 7 March 2013, Case C-128/12, Sindicato dos Bancários do Norte, paras. 10-12; ECJ 26 June 2014, Case C-264/12, Sindicato Nacional dos Profissionais de Seguros e Afins v Fidelidade Mundial, paras. 18-20; ECJ 21 October 2014, Case C-665/13, Sindicato Nacional dos Profissionais de Seguros e Afins, paras. 13-15.

79 GC, T-531/14, Sotiropoulou, pending, OJ C 351, 6.10.2014.

80 Just to give some examples included in national adjustment programmes: Portugal agreed to reduce the number of municipalities (Point 26 of the Memorandum of Understanding, see ‘The Economic Adjustment Programme for Portugal’, Occasional Papers 79 (June 2011) p. 48); Ireland to introduce a domestic water-charge system (Art. 1 of Council Implementing Decision 2013/372/EU); and Cyprus agreed to set a fee for students and pensioners in receipt of public transportation cards (Art. 2.8 (a) of Council Decision 2013/236/EU).

81 On its inception in World Trade Organisation law, see in extenso Pons, X. Fernández, La OMC y el Derecho Internacional The WTO and international law (Marcial Pons 2006) p. 111-193 ). On subsequent nuanced International Court of Justice case law, see Martín Rodríguez, P., ‘Sistema, fragmentación y contencioso internacional’, 60 Revista Española de Derecho Internacional (2008) p. 481-486 .

82 Kilpatrick, C., ‘Are the Bailouts Immune to EU Social Challenge Because They Are Not EU Law?’, 10 EuConst (2014) p. 398-406 .

83 De Witte and Beukers contend that member states may exercise this still not pre-empted shared competence through inter se agreements that are not to be confused with international agreements under Art. 3.2 TFEU ( De Witte, B. and Beukers, T., ‘The Court of Justice approves the creation of the European Stability Mechanism outside the EU legal order: Pringle ’, 50 CMLR (2013) p. 801-837 ). However, Regulation 472/2013/EU sets out that, when an adjustment programme is in place, the Excessive Deficit Procedure and the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure remain suspended. Moreover, the provision envisaging the involvement of the International Monetary Fund in the loan agreements and the following adjustment programmes makes it difficult to assess that this issue remains purely inter se (see, by analogy, ECJ 26 November 2014, Case C-66/13, Green Network, para. 38).

84 Integration by reference is a well-known international legislative technique (see Andrés Sáenz de Santa María, P., ‘La incorporación por referencia en el Derecho de los Tratados’, 37 Revista Española de Derecho Internacional (1985) p. 7-39 ) and used in EU law with regard to the Charter.

85 See ECJ, Case C-258/14, Florescu and others, pending. The reasoning followed in the General Court Order in Ledra Advertising (supra n. 34) exemplifies all these traps.

86 The most problematic issue is caused by the bailouts of the European Financial Stability Facility, especially before the adoption of the national economic programmes where the EU law connection emerged, as Kilpatrick rightly points out (supra n. 82, p. 412-413). On the extremely complex mixed legal regime under which the European Financial Stability Facility operated, see A. Michailidou, ‘Crisis and change in Greece. What price democracy?’, in Fossum and Menéndez (eds.), supra n. 1, p. 254-255.

87 This is a widely shared opinion about the doctrine. See e.g. Peers, S., ‘Towards a New Form of EU Law?: The Use of EU Institutions outside the EU Legal Framework’, 9 EuConst (2013) p. 52-53 or Kilpatrick, supra n. 82, p. 405-406.

88 Martín Rodríguez, supra n. 6, section D.

89 See Herlin-Karnell, E., ‘From Mutual Trust to the Full Effectiveness of EU Law: 10 Years of the European Arrest Warrant’, 38 ELRev (2013) p. 79 .

90 See this social awareness, for example, with regard to Latvian financial assistance, in Dahan, S., ‘The EU/IMF Financial Stabilisation Process in Latvia and Its Implications for Labour Law and Social Policy’, 41 Industrial Law Journal (2012) p. 305 .

91 Memoranda of Understanding raise rather complicated legal questions in international law and not necessarily the same in EU law, on which I will not expand here (see Kilpatrick, supra n. 82, p. 408-413). However, it should be noticed that to admit that Memoranda of Understanding are unable to create rights and obligations per se would not automatically de-activate legitimate expectations (see Fischer-Lescano, supra n. 69, p. 32-35). The question of direct and individual concern should apply only for the admissibility of annulment actions to the General Court and, as such, not in relation to the assessment of the legal effects, the emergence of legitimate expectations or respect for EU primary law and fundamental rights.

92 Martín Rodríguez, supra n. 6, section C.

93 ECJ 15 January 2014, Case C-176/12, Association de médiation sociale, para. 45. Here, the ECJ alludes explicitly to these paragraphs and sticks to the wording of Art. 27 Charter, in order to deprive it of direct effect.

94 See Barnard, C. and Deakin, S., ‘Social Policy and Labor Market Regulation’, in The Oxford Handbook of The European Union (Oxford University Press 2014), p. 542-553 .

95 ECJ 6 March 2014, Case C-206/13, Siragusa, paras. 30-31.

96 A question that I will not address here is to what extent the European Parliament has refused to play a more decisive role in sustaining legal certainty requirements and respect for the Charter in a trade-off of a handful of modest competences in economic supervision. It seems clear that an action brought by the European Parliament against a Council decision for infringing the Charter would offer the ECJ a more solid ground for making a decisive move in this respect. Due to the non-legislative character of most of these measures, national parliaments are not placed, either, in a position easily to challenge them according to the new rules of the Treaty of Lisbon.

97 See Capdevila, C. Martínez, ‘El ius standi de los particulares frente a los “actos reglamentarios que no incluyen medidas de ejecución” (art. 263 TFUE) en la jurisprudencia del TJUE: un análisis crítico’, 52 Revista Española de Derecho Europeo (2014), p. 177-187 .

98 ECJ 3 October 2013, Case C-583/11 P, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, paras. 57-60.

99 ECJ 19 December 2013, Case C-274/12 P, Telefónica, paras. 27-31; ECJ 28 April 2015, Case C-456/13 P, T & L Sugars Ltd and Sidul Açúcares, paras. 40-42.

100 See, in addition to the ADEDY case mentioned supra n. 59, ECJ Order 15 November 2012, Case C-102/12 P, Städter and Order 29 April 2015, Case C-64/14 P, von Storch. See also GC Order 25 June 2014, Case T-224/12, Accorinti and Others v ECB.

101 See corresponding main text supra n. 49 (Accorinti and Others v ECB) and n. 79 (Sotiropoulou).

102 Kilpatrick, supra n. 82, p. 418-420.

103 Constitutional Courts have no reason to be sympathetic to exceptional constitutional measures unless they have to bring into their deliberation EU based arguments, as the Estonian Supreme Court did in its judgment of 12 July 2012 on the Treaty on the European Stability Mechanism, declaring that the economic and financial sustainability of the Eurozone also belongs to the constitutional values of Estonia: <>, visited 29 June 2016.

104 Putting it in simple terms, a Constitutional Court quashing a member state’s implementing measure because it encroaches upon proportionality or legitimate expectations does not affect the autonomy of EU law, since the system could without much difficulty incorporate that decision; but it would strike at the heart of EU law if the relevant Constitutional Court were to state that establishing that condition is an ultra vires act.

105 I cannot expand on this dimension of legal certainty as subjective acceptability brought up by Nordic doctrine, especially by the works of Juha Raitio and Elina Paunio (see Martín Rodríguez, supra n. 6, section A).

106 On the consequences of a confrontational instead of a cooperative environment, see Besselink, L.F.M., ‘The Parameters of Constitutional Conflict after Melloni ’, 39 ELRev. (2014) p. 531 ; Sarmiento, D., ‘Who’s afraid of the Charter? The Court of Justice, national courts and the new framework of fundamental rights protection in Europe’, 50 CMLR (2013) p. 1267 .

* Associate Professor in Public International Law and International Relations of the University of Granada (). I thank D. Sarmiento, M. López Escudero and the EuConst editorial board and the anonymous reviewer for their insightful comments on this contribution. I should also like to thank Bridgit McQue for helping me put these thoughts in comprehensible English. Of course all errors remain mine. This research has been done within the framework of the Project DER2014-57213 funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

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