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Mutual Trust, Essence and Federalism – Between Consolidating and Fragmenting the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice after LM

  • Mattias Wendel
Abstract

Mutual trust – Essence of EU fundamental rights – Values under Article 2 TEU – Intrinsic link between essence and values – Federalism – LM judgment – Rule of law crisis in Poland – Right to fair trial – Judicial independence – Fundamental right to an independent tribunal – Prohibition on transfers – Obligation to presume compliance with fundamental rights – Condition of ‘systemic deficiencies’ as a federal safeguard – Area of Freedom, Security and Justice – European Arrest Warrant – Dublin system

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Professor Dr. Mattias Wendel, Maîtr. en droit (Paris 1) is Professor of Public Law, International Law, European Law and Comparative Law at Bielefeld University. I would like to thank Monica Claes, Jan-Herman Reestman and Robin D. Miller for helpful comments on earlier drafts, as well as Paula Kift and Andrew Faughnan for valuable linguistic support. The usual disclaimers apply.

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1 See in particular van Sliedregt, E., ‘The European Arrest Warrant: Between Trust, Democracy and the Rule of Law’, 3 EuConst (2007) p. 244 ff ; Möstl, M., ‘Preconditions and Limits of Mutual Recognition’, 47 Common Market Law Review (2010) p. 405 ff ; Mitsilegas, V., ‘The Limits of Mutual Trust in Europe’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’, Yearbook of European Law (2012) p. 319 ff ; Kaufhold, A.-K., ‘Gegenseitiges Vertrauen’, Europarecht (2012) p. 408 ff ; Canor, I., ‘My Brother’s Keeper? Horizontal Solange: “An Ever Closer Distrust Among the Peoples of Europe”’, 50 Common Market Law Review (2013) p. 383 ff ; Herlin-Karnell, E., ‘From mutual trust to the full effectiveness of EU law: 10 years of the European arrest warrant’, 38 European Law Review (2013) p. 79 ff ; Reinbacher, T. and Wendel, M., ‘Menschenwürde und Europäischer Haftbefehl’, 43 Europäische Grundrechtezeitschrift (2016) p. 333 ff ; Wischmeyer, T., ‘Generating Trust Through Law?’, 17 German Law Journal (2016) p. 339 ff ; Lenaerts, K., ‘La vie après l’avis: Exploring the principle of mutual (yet not blind) trust’, 54 Common Market Law Review (2017) p. 805 ff ; Schwarz, M., ‘Let’s talk about trust, baby! Theorizing trust and mutual recognition in the EU’s area of freedom, security and justice’, 24 European Law Journal (2018) p. 124 ff ; Xanthopoulou, E., ‘Mutual trust and rights in EU Criminal and Asylum Law: Three phases of evolution and the uncharged territory beyond blind trust’, 55 Common Market Law Review (2018) p. 489 ff .

2 ECJ (Grand Chamber) 25 July 2018, Case C-216/18 PPU, Minister for Justice and Equality v LM, ECLI:EU:C:2018:586. The case is also known as Celmer, due to the non-anonymised names of the relevant parties in the Irish main proceeding.

3 ECJ 25 July 2018, Case C-220/18 PPU, Generalstaatsanwaltschaft v ML (Conditions of detention in Hungary), ECLI:EU:C:2018:589.

4 The European Arrest Warrant was established by Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States, as amended by Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA of 26 February 2009.

5 Irish High Court, 12 March 2018, The Minister for Justice and Equality v Celmer [2018] IEHC 119.

6 For an extensive assessment of the situation in Poland, see the Commission’s Reasoned Proposal of 20 December 2017 under Art. 7(1) TEU, COM (2017) 835 final. On instruments for fighting the crisis outside the scope of Art. 7 TEU, see Franzius, C., ‘Der Kampf um Demokratie in Polen und Ungarn’, 71 Die Öffentliche Verwaltung (2018) p. 381 ff .

7 On that aspect, see, in particular, Krajewski, M., ‘Who is Afraid of the European Council?’, 13 EuConst (2018) p. 792 at p. 805 ff.

8 Unlike Art. 4 CFR, which contains an absolute protection.

9 Prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

10 Based on Regulation 604/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council 2013 OJ L 180/31 [hereinafter Dublin-III-Regulation].

11 See I. Pernice, ‘Die horizontale Dimension des Europäischen Verfassungsverbundes’, in H.-J. Derra et al. (eds.), Freiheit, Sicherheit und Recht – Festschrift für Jürgen Meyer zum 70. Geburtstag (Nomos 2006) p. 359 ff.

12 See supra n. 1.

13 A.-K. Kaufhold, ‘Gegenseitiges Vertrauen’, Europarecht (2012) p. 408 at p. 417 ff and p. 426 ff (‘Wirksamkeitsbedingung’).

14 On this, instructively, Wischmeyer, T., ‘Generating Trust Through Law?’, 17 German Law Journal (2016) p. 339 at p. 344 ff and Schwarz, M., ‘Let’s talk about trust, baby! Theorizing trust and mutual recognition in the EU’s area of freedom, security and justice’, 24 European Law Journal (2018) p. 124 at p. 131 ff. See now also von Bogdandy, A., ‘Ways to Frame the European Rule of Law: Rechtsgemeinschaft, Trust, Revolution, and Kantian Peace’, 14 EuConst (2018) p. 675 ff .

15 See, recently, ECJ 6 March 2018, Case C-284/16, Achmea, ECLI:EU:C:2018:158, paras. 34 and 58. Specifically regarding the principle of mutual recognition which is derived from the principle of mutual trust, cf M. Schwarz, ‘Grundlinien der Anerkennung im Raum der Freiheit, der Sicherheit und des Rechts’ (Mohr Siebeck 2016) p. 151 ff and p. 205 ff.

16 A second thrust is that a Member State ‘may not demand a higher level of national protection of fundamental rights from another Member State than that provided by EU law’, see ECJ 18 December 2014, Opinion 2/13, Accession to the ECHR II, ECLI:EU:C:2014:2454, para. 192. In line with ECJ 26 February 2013, Case C-399/11, Melloni, ECLI:EU:C:2013:107, para. 60, national authorities and courts are, of course, still free to require higher standards of protection provided that neither the level of protection under EU law nor the principles of primacy, unity, and effectiveness of EU law are thereby compromised. However, national authorities and courts cannot be obliged to do so by their peers.

17 The ECJ had already expressed this in clear terms in Opinion 2/13, supra n. 16 at para. 191. See now, in repetition, LM, supra n. 2 at para. 36: ‘More specifically, the principle of mutual trust requires, particularly as regards the area of freedom, security and justice, each of those States, save in exceptional circumstances, to consider all the other Member States to be complying with EU law and particularly with the fundamental rights recognised by EU law.’

18 Ibid.

19 Rightly emphasised by Franzius, C., ‘Grundrechtsschutz in Europa’, 75 Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht (2015) p. 383 at p. 407.

20 See Canor, I., ‘My Brother’s Keeper? Horizontal Solange: “An Ever Closer Distrust Among the Peoples of Europe”’, 50 Common Market Law Review (2013) p. 383 ff .

21 Aptly, in the context of the Dublin-system, see Bergmann, J., ‘Das Dublin-Asylsystem’, Zeitschrift für Ausländerrecht (2015) p. 81 at p. 86.

22 In that sense, see also BVerfG 15 December 2015, Case 2 BvR 2735/14, European Arrest Warrant II (identity review), para, 92.

23 On this issue, see Reinbacher, T. and Wendel, M., ‘Menschenwürde und Europäischer Haftbefehl’, 43 Europäische Grundrechtezeitschrift (2016) p. 333 at p. 340 ff.

24 Cf, pars pro toto, BVerfG, European Arrest Warrant II (identity review), supra n. 22, as well as ECJ, Melloni, supra n. 16. On the appropriate conception of fundamental rights protection within the EU, see Kleinlein, T., Grundrechtsföderalismus (Mohr Siebeck 2017); Besselink, L., ‘The parameters of constitutional conflict after Melloni’, 39 European Law Review (2014) p. 531 ff ; Thym, D., ‘Vereinigt die Grundrechte!’, 70 Juristenzeitung (2015) p. 53 ff ; Masing, J., ‘Einheit und Vielfalt des Europäischen Grundrechtsschutzes’, 70 Juristenzeitung (2015) p. 477 ff ; Lenaerts, K., ‘In Vielfalt geeint’, 42 Europäische Grundrechtezeitschrift (2015) p. 353 ff .

25 Cf German Higher Regional Court Schleswig-Holstein, order of 5 April and 12 July 2018, Case 1 Ausl (A) 18/18 (20/18).

26 For an overarching comparative analysis, see von Bogdandy, A. and Sonnevend, P. (eds.), Constitutional Crisis in the European Constitutional Area (Beck/Hart/Nomos 2015) .

27 Cf Wendel, M., ‘The refugee crisis and the executive’, 17 German Law Journal (2016) p. 1005 ff with further references.

28 See now also Xanthopoulou, E., ‘Mutual trust and rights in EU Criminal and Asylum Law: Three phases of evolution and the uncharged territory beyond blind trust’, 55 Common Market Law Review (2018) p. 489 at p. 492 ff.

29 ECJ 3 May 2007, Case C-303/05, Advocaten voor de Wereld, ECLI:EU:C:2007:261; ECJ 29 January 2013, Case C-396/11, Radu, ECLI:EU:C:2013:39; ECJ, Melloni, supra n. 16; ECJ 30 May 2013, Case C-168/13 PPU, F, ECLI:EU:C:2013:358; ECJ 16 July 2015, Case C-237/15 PPU, Lanigan, ECLI:EU:C:2015:474; ECJ 5 April 2016, Joined Cases C-404/15 and C-659/15 PPU, Aranyosi and Căldăraru, ECLI:EU:C:2016:198; ECJ 10 August 2017, Case C-270/17 PPU, Tupikas, ECLI:EU:C:2017:628; ECJ 23 January 2018, Case C-367/16, Piotrowski, ECLI:EU:C:2018:27.

30 Cf, for instance, BVerfG 18 July 2005, Case 2 BvR 2236/04, European Arrest Warrant I as well as BVerfG, European Arrest Warrant II (identity review), supra n. 22. For a comparative legal perspective, see Komárek, J., ‘European constitutionalism and the European arrest warrant’, 44 Common Market Law Review (2007) p. 9 at p. 16 ff; Torrez Pérez, A., ‘Melloni in Three Acts: From Dialogue to Monologue’, 10 EuConst (2014) p. 308 ff ; Albi, A., ‘Erosion of Constitutional Rights in EU Law: A Call for “Substantive Co-Operative Constitutionalism”’, ICL Journal (2015) p. 151 ff and p. 291 ff.

31 ECJ 5 April 2016, Joined Cases C-404/15 and C-659/15 PPU, Aranyosi and Căldăraru, ECLI:EU:C:2016:198 at para. 89-91 (step 1) and at para. 92-97 (step 2). Para. 98-103 then refer to the legal consequences.

32 Ibid., at para. 89.

33 Ibid., at para. 91-94.

34 ML, supra n. 3, at para. 62.

35 Ibid., at para. 68.

36 ECJ, Aranyosi and Căldăraru, supra n. 31, para. 89-91 (step 1), para. 92: ‘Whenever the existence of such a risk [of inhuman or degrading treatment by virtue of general conditions of detention] is identified, it is then necessary that the executing judicial authority make a further assessment, specific and precise, of whether there are substantial grounds to believe that the individual concerned will be exposed to that risk because of the conditions for his detention envisaged in the issuing Member State’ [emphasis added].

37 ECJ 21 December 2011, Joined Cases C-411/10 and C-493/10, NS et al., ECLI:EU:C:2011:865, para. 86.

38 ECJ 10 December 2013, Case C-394/12, Abdullahi, ECLI:EU:2013:813, para. 60 ff.

39 Art. 3(2) subpara. 2 Dublin-III-regulation, speaking of ‘systemic flaws’.

40 ECJ 16 February 2017, Case C-578/16 PPU, CK et al., ECLI:EU:C:2017:127, para. 91 ff.

41 In CK, the real risk emanates from the transfer itself rather than from the human rights situation in the other country, an important difference in the context of mutual trust.

42 On the European Arrest Warrant, cf ECJ, Aranyosi and Căldăraru, supra n. 31, at para. 85 ff and on EU asylum law, ECJ, CK, supra n. 40, at para. 59, 69, 93.

43 ML, supra n. 3.

44 Irish High Court, supra n. 5, at para. 123 as well as para. 46 ff, 122 ff, in particular with reference to the Commission and the Venice Commission.

45 Ibid., at para. 41 ff and 121 with sole reference to Art. 6 ECHR.

46 The AG was primarily concerned with the flagrant denial of justice criterion developed by the European Court of Human Rights, cf Conclusions of AG Tanchev 28 June 2018, Case C-216/18 PPU, Minister for Justice and Equality v LM, ECLI:EU:C:2018:517, para. 85 ff. In para. 75-77 the essence of fundamental rights does, however, at least play some role in his argument.

47 ECJ, LM, supra n. 2 at para. 68 and 78.

48 Ibid., at para. 48.

49 Ibid., at para. 59.

50 Ibid., at para. 59: FR ‘partant’, EN ‘therefore’, DE ‘damit’.

51 Ibid., at para. 48.

52 AG Tanchev, supra n. 46, at para. 85 with reference to ECtHR 17 January 2012, Case 8139/09, Othman/UK, para. 258 ff (regarding evidence obtained through torture).

53 This question has been discussed extensively before the Irish High Court in the aftermath of the ECJ’s preliminary ruling, see Irish High Court 19 November 2018, [2018] IEHC 639, The Minister for Justice and Equality v Celmer No. 5 at para. 11 ff.

54 See very recently ECJ 6 November 2018, Case C-684/16, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, ECLI:EU:C:2018:874, para. 54 with regard to Art. 31(2) CFR (and para. 26 as to the corresponding secondary law).

55 For the concept of essence in the case law of national constitutional courts and the European Court of Human Rights, see Brkan, M., ‘The Concept of Essence of Fundamental Rights in the EU Legal Order’, 14 EuConst (2018) p. 332 at 339 ff.

56 ECJ 8 April 2014, Joined Cases C-293/12 and C-594/12, Digital Rights Ireland et al., ECLI:EU:C:2014:238, para. 39.

57 ECJ 18 July 2013, Case C-426/11, Alemo-Herron, EU:C:2013:521, para. 34 ff and ECJ 06 October 2015, Case C-362/14, Schrems, ECLI:EU:C:2015:650, para. 94 ff.

58 For an earlier innovative approach, see A. von Bogdandy et al., ‘Reverse Solange – Protecting the essence of fundamental rights against EU Member States’, 49 Common Market Law Review (2012) p. 489 ff. The Court’s approach differs from the proposal of the authors in at least two regards. First, it does not conceptually tie in with the doctrine of the ‘substance of the rights’ conferred to EU citizens by virtue of their status as citizens (Art. 20 TFEU); second, and more importantly, it does not (yet) rely on the essence of fundamental rights outside the scope of Art. 51(1) CFR.

59 LM, supra n. 2 at para. 48.

60 See D. Kochenov, ‘EU Law without the Rule of Law: Is the Veneration of Autonomy Worth It?’, Yearbook of European Law (2015) p. 74 ff.

61 ECJ 27 February 2018, Case C-64/16, Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses (in short ASJP), ECLI:EU:C:2018:117, para. 32 ff. On this, see Bonelli, M. and Claes, M., ‘Judicial serendipity: how Portuguese judges came to the rescue of the Polish judiciary’, 14 EuConst (2018) p. 622 ff .

62 Again, much more clearly than AG Tanchev, supra n. 46, at para. 91.

63 LM, supra n. 2, at para. 49-54.

64 Ibid., at para. 62. The ECJ even dedicates an entire and thus highly visible paragraph to this statement.

65 Irish High Court, supra n. 5, para. 141 ff. This aspect was then discussed in detail at the hearing.

66 Further on this problem, see Wendel, M., ‘Menschenrechtliche Überstellungsverbote’, 130 Deutsches Verwaltungsblatt (2015) p. 731 and p. 732 ff.

67 Irish High Court, supra n. 5, para. 128.

68 In that sense, ibid., at para. 142.

69 Cf LM, supra n. 2, at para. 68 ff, as well as AG Tanchev, supra n. 46, at para. 51 and 104 ff.

70 ECtHR 17 January 2012, Case No 8139/09, Othman/UK, para. 258 ff (regarding evidence obtained through torture).

71 In contrast to the Advocate General.

72 Cf the in-depth analysis of AG Tanchev, supra n. 46, at para. 109 ff.

73 At least to the extent that they cannot prosecute the sought persons themselves.

74 LM, supra n. 2, at para. 70-73.

75 For a more positive assessment, see the blogposts by P. Sonnevend and M. Bonelli of 27 July 2018 on VerfassungsBlog.

76 ASJP, supra n. 61, at para. 35.

77 Ibid., at para. 34.

78 Ibid., at para. 46-51.

79 That the ECJ also emphasises, ibid., at para. 35, 41.

80 Ibid., at para. 29.

81 See also M. Wendel, blogpost of 26 July 2018 on VerfassungsBlog and Krajewski, supra n. 7, at p. 806 ff.

82 Ibid.

83 For the pending infringement procedures and the role of the Commission in addressing the national rule of law crisis, see below.

84 LM, supra n. 2, at para. 36 and 43 with further references.

85 LM, supra n. 2, at para. 48.

86 See on that Brkan, supra n. 55, at p. 349 ff.

87 Cf already the remarks on the proposal of von Bogdandy et al., supra n. 58.

88 In no case may the essence of a basic right be affected.

89 On the genesis of Art. 52(1) CFR see M. Borowsky, in J. Meyer (ed.), Charta der Grundrechte der Europäischen Union (Nomos, 4th edn., 2014) Art. 52, para. 3 ff and 23a.

90 In detail on the state of the discussion see C. Drews, Die Wesensgehaltsgarantie des Artikel 19 II GG (Nomos 2005) p. 151 ff. In judicial practice, Art. 19(2) of German Basic Law plays almost no role at all, cf C. Bumke and A. Voßkuhle, Casebook Verfassungsrecht, 7th edn. (Mohr Siebeck 2015) para. 168.

91 For a sceptical view of the idea of core areas protected in absolute terms, see also M. Cornils, in A. Hatje and C. Müller-Graff (eds.), Enzyklopädie Europarecht II (Nomos 2013) § 5, Schrankendogmatik, para. 104 ff with further references.

92 Despite significant overlap, this approach should not, from a doctrinal point of view, be confused with the concept of ‘essence’ under Art. 19(2) of the Basic Law.

93 And, hence, ‘regardless’ of the judicial restrictions following from its previous Solange-II jurisprudence.

94 BVerfG, European Arrest Warrant II (identity review), supra n. 22, para. 34. See, in more detail, Reinbacher, T. and Wendel, M., ‘The Bundesverfassungsgericht’s European Arrest Warrant II Decision’, 23 Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law (2016) p. 702 ff .

95 The BVerfG stated in its judgment of 21 June 2016, Case 2 BvR 2728/13 et al., OMT (final judgment), para. 138 that the identity review serves to protect ‘the fundamental rights’ core of human dignity. The BVerfG has attributed to certain fundamental rights so-called dignity-related ‘core areas’ or ‘substances of rights’ which enjoy a degree of absolute protection. For an early decision, compare BVerfG, Case 2 BvF 1/69 et al., judgment of 15 December 1970, BVerfGE 30, 1, 24 ff – Wiretap decision, para. 99 ff.

96 Cf Schönberger, C., ‘Vom Verschwinden der Anwesenheit in der Demokratie – Präsenz als bedrohtes Fundament von Wahlrecht, Parteienrecht und Parlamentsrecht‘, 71 Juristenzeitung (2016) p. 422 at p. 424.

97 In this sense, compare the earlier decision in BVerfG 2 March 2010, Case 1 BvR 256/08 et al., Data Retention, para. 215 (however, dismissing the claim that the inalienable core had been violated in the present case).

98 In this sense, decidedly, Brkan, supra n. 55, at p. 360: ‘… in case of interference with essence, no justificatory argument exists’.

99 LM, supra n. 2, at para. 60, 62 and 68.

100 See O. Beaud, Théorie de la Fédération (PUF 2007) p. 37 ff.

101 Cf Madison No. 51, cited according to Rossiter, C.L. (ed.), The Federalist Papers (Signet 2003) p. 290 .

102 See for further details, brilliantly, Schütze, R., From Dual to Cooperative Federalism (Oxford 2009) p. 14 ff .

103 Cf K. Lenaerts, ‘Constitutionalism and the Many faces of Federalism’, 38 American Journal of Comparative Law (1990) p. 205 ff; id., ‘EU Federalism in 3-D’, in E. Cloots et al. (eds), Federalism in the European Union (Hart 2012) p. 13 ff.

104 This does not, of course, imply that there is one ideal solution on the basis of federal theory. Rather, federalism can help determine the right questions and hence appropriate solutions on the normative ground of the respective legal order(s).

105 Within their sphere of competence.

106 Opinion 2/13, supra n. 16, at para. 191.

107 ECJ 23 January 2018, Case C-367/16, Piotrowski, ECLI:EU:C:2018:27, para. 50.

108 ECJ, supra n. 37, at para. 86, 89, translating the preceding decision of the ECtHR 21 January 2011, Case No. 30696/09, M.S.S./Belgium and Greece into EU law.

109 The judgment primarily rejected the justiciability of the criteria and procedural rules of the Dublin II Regulation. In this respect, the ECJ has, with a view to the Dublin-III-regulation, changed its jurisprudence, cf ECJ 7 June 2016, Case C-63/15, Ghezelbash, ECLI:EU:2016:409, para. 34 ff; ECJ 26 July 2017, Case C-490/16, A.S., ECLI:EU:C:2017:585, para. 24 ff; ECJ 26 July 2017, Case C-670/16, Mengesteab, ECLI:EU:2017:587, para. 41 ff; ECJ 25 October 2017, Case C-201/16, Shiri, ECLI:EU:C:2017:805, para. 35 ff. That said, in Abdullahi the ECJ, however, also made it clear that no other objection can be raised against a Dublin transfer than an assertion of systemic deficiencies in the state of destination.

110 More concretely, it spoke of ‘systemic failure’. Strasbourg has repeatedly rejected allegations of violation of the convention through Dublin transfers to Italy by emphasising the absence of systemic deficiencies, in particular for people who had applied for subsidiary protection; see ECtHR 2 April 2013, Case No. 27725/10, Mohammed Hussein et al./Netherlands and Italy, para. 78 ff; ECtHR 4 June 2013, Case No. 6198/12, Daytbegova and Magomedova/Austria, para. 66 ff; ECtHR 18 June 2013, Case No. 53852/11, Halimi/Austria and Italy, para. 68 ff; ECtHR 18 June 2013, Case No. 73874/11, Abubeker/Austria and Italy); ECtHR 27 August 2013, Case No. 9053/10, Miruts Hagos/Netherlands and Italy); ECtHR 27 August 2013, Case No. 40524/10, Mohammed Hassan u.a./Netherlands and Italy, para. 176 ff; ECtHR 10 September 2013, Case No. 2314/10, Hussein Diirshi u.a./Netherlands and Italy, para. 138 ff.

111 ECtHR (Grand Chamber) 4 November 2014, Case No. 29217/12, Tarakhel/Switzerland, para. 103-105. For a reading according to which the criterion of systemic deficiencies should not be treated as ‘an additional hurdle for applicants, but rather an element of the risk assessment’ see C. Costello, ‘Courting Access to Asylum in Europe’, 12 Human Rights Law Review (2012) p. 287 at p. 331. For an attempt to expand the term ‘systemic deficiencies’ to the particular circumstances of individual cases (despite its abstract-general orientation), thus reconciling the approaches of the ECJ and ECtHR, see A. Lübbe, ‘“Systemische Mängel” in Dublin-Verfahren’, Zeitschrift für Ausländerrecht (2014) p. 105 at p. 107 ff.

112 Opinion 2/13, supra. n. 16, at para. 194.

113 Compare, on the one hand, K. Lenaerts, ‘La vie après l’avis’, 54 Common Market Law Review (2017) p. 805 at p. 831 ff and, on the other, ECtHR 23 May 2016, Case No. 17502/07, Avotins/Latvia, para. 113-116 ff in the context of the Brussels I Regulation which, by adjusting its Bosphorus case law limited its competence of review to the claim ‘that the protection of a Convention right has been manifestly deficient and that this situation cannot be remedied by European Union law’ in cases in which national courts of EU Member States are, due to mutual trust, under an obligation to presume that their peers comply with EU fundamental rights.

114 BVerfG 19 December 2017, Case 2 BvR 424/17, Detention conditions in Romania, para. 48 ff. According to the BVerfG’s settled case law, not every violation of Art. 267 § 3 TFEU equates to a violation of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz – GG). The BVerfG sanctions only cases in which Art. 267 § 3 TFEU ‘is applied in a manifestly untenable manner’. The relevant provision of German constitutional law is Art. 101 § 1 second sentence GG, according to which ‘[no]one may be removed from the jurisdiction of his lawful judge’.

115 CK, supra n. 40, at para. 93.

116 Concerns about deterioration of the state of health due to the transfer. For more on this distinction, see A. Lübbe, ‘“Mutual trust“ und die Folgen des Aufenthaltsbeendigungshandelns’, Neue Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsrecht (2017) p. 674 at p. 676 ff.

117 CK, supra n. 40, at para. 95 That the ECJ, in an obiter dictum in Case C-646/16, Jafari, ECLI:EU:C:2017:586, para. 101, refers to CK and not to NS and Abdullahi, does not (yet) necessarily suggest a change of jurisdiction, particularly considering that the ECJ here clarifies yet again that ‘an applicant cannot therefore be transferred if, following the arrival of an unusually large number of third-country nationals seeking international protection, such a risk existed in the Member State responsible’ (emphasis added). This again comes close to the criterion of systemic deficiencies in the sense of the presence of a general problem in the asylum system of the country of destination.

118 See now, pronounced shortly before publication of this article, ECJ 19 March 2019, case C‑163/17, Jawo, ECLI:EU:C:2019:218, para 87 ff; and ECJ 19 March, case C-297/17, Ibrahim, ECLI:EU:C:2019:219, para. 87 ff.

119 See A. von Bogdandy and M. Ioannidis, ‘Das systemische Defizit’, Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht (2014) p. 283 ff.

120 Compare Canor, supra n. 20, at p. 420.

121 Ibid.

122 Mention of this notion is not intended to imply any hierarchical superiority or subordination.

123 In certain cases, if a national court has not complied with its obligation to investigate and establish the facts, a constitutional court might also step in; see BVerfG 16 August 2018, Case 2 BvR 237/18, Detention Conditions in Hungary, para. 21 ff.

124 See, recently, pars pro toto, ECJ 28 October 2018, Case C-331/17, Sciotto, ECLI:EU:C:2018:859, para. 27.

125 NS, supra n. 37, at para. 89, albeit underlining the responsibility and ability of Member States to assess compliance with fundamental rights by another Member State (para. 91). Abdullahi, supra n. 38, is not clear in this respect. Para. 61 could be, at first view, understood as if the Court had stated that, according to the documents placed before it, there was no issue of systemic deficiencies in Hungary (particularly FR: ‘aucun indice ne permet de considérer que tel est le cas dans le cadre du litige au principal’ and DE ‘erlaubt indessen kein Anhaltspunkt die Annahme, dass dies im Rahmen des Ausgangsrechtsstreits der Fall ist’). However, a closer look seems to indicate that the ECJ might have only stated that the person in the main proceeding had not (explicitly) pleaded systemic deficiencies (in that sense, also EN ‘nothing to suggest that that is the position in the dispute before the referring court’).

126 ASJP, supra n. 61, at para. 46-51, albeit not with a view to systemic deficiencies in the sense of the case law on mutual trust.

127 Ibid., at para. 51.

128 Aptly, J. Bergmann, ‘Das Dublin-System’, Zeitschrift für Ausländerrecht (2015) p. 81 at p 87. In Germany, this can be aggravated by a lack of agreement between higher courts, a problem rooted in the specific procedural framework of asylum law cases.

129 Provided for by Art. 107 of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of Justice.

130 LM, supra n. 2, at para. 61.

131 Compare ML, supra n. 3, at para. 80, 104 with reference to a request for information comprising 78 (sic!) questions from the Higher Regional Court in Bremen. The statements of the ECJ, however, refer to the second prong of the Aranyosi test.

132 On this topic, compare Irish Times, ‘Polish right-wingers focus ire on “Irish lesbian judge”’, 14 March 2018.

133 A risk emanating from the systemic dismantling of judicial independence that would also affect the person individually if the transfer were executed.

134 LM, supra n. 2, at para. 70-72.

135 Ibid., at para. 73.

136 According to Art. 354 TFEU, the member of the European Council representing the Member State in question shall not take part in the vote. Also, abstentions by members present in person or represented shall not prevent the adoption of decisions referred to Art. 7(2) TEU.

137 LM, supra n. 2, at para. 73.

138 Compare AG Tanchev, supra n. 46, at para. 52, 103, 108, 113, 127.

139 LM, supra n. 2, at para. 61.

140 Pending cases C-192/18 and C-619/18, Commission/Poland.

141 LM, supra n. 2, at para. 63-67, again partly in reference to ASJP, supra. n. 61.

142 Ibid., at para. 67.

143 Compare pending cases C-522/18, DŚ/Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych Oddział w Jaśle (reference of the Polish Supreme Court) as well as cases C-537/18, Krajowa Rada Sądownictwa; C-558/18, Miasto Łowicz; C-563/18, Prokuratura Okręgowa; C-585/18, Krajowa Rada Sądownictwa i in.; C-623/18, Prokuratura Rejonowa; C-624/18, CP; C-625/18, DO.

144 See also Bonelli and Claes, supra n. 61.

145 The threat of a penalty of €100,000 per day was path-breaking, see ECJ 20 November 2017, Case C-441/17R, Commission/Poland, ECLI:EU:C:2017:877, para. 118 relating to a Natura-2000 area.

146 Compare ECJ 19 October 2018, Case C-619/18, Commission/Poland, ECLI:EU:2018:852.

147 Case , supra n. 143.

148 Irish High Court, Celmer No 5, supra n. 53, at para. 117-124, also hinting at the individual’s possibility to file a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights at a later stage.

* Professor Dr. Mattias Wendel, Maîtr. en droit (Paris 1) is Professor of Public Law, International Law, European Law and Comparative Law at Bielefeld University. I would like to thank Monica Claes, Jan-Herman Reestman and Robin D. Miller for helpful comments on earlier drafts, as well as Paula Kift and Andrew Faughnan for valuable linguistic support. The usual disclaimers apply.

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European Constitutional Law Review
  • ISSN: 1574-0196
  • EISSN: 1744-5515
  • URL: /core/journals/european-constitutional-law-review
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