aOn Tuesday, on the occasion of two questions from Romania, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) made key statements on the relationship between national and European law. In their decision, the judges emphasized that the primacy of European law applied absolutely. National regulations could not prevent this – not even those with constitutional status.
Judges from the Romanian Supreme Court went to the European Court of Justice. They have indicted several parliamentarians and ministers for corruption, but the decisions were overturned by the Romanian Constitutional Court. Constitutional judges complained that the proceedings had to take place before a specialized chamber. They also made specifications for the exact configuration of the board.
The Bihor Regional Court also dealt with corruption, and there, too, a decision of the Constitutional Court was transferred to the European Court of Justice. Accordingly, evidence collected with the help of Romanian intelligence may not be used in criminal proceedings. In fact, this exploitation is deceptive, because the Romanian internal intelligence SRI operates without any oversight under the rule of law.
Judges from Bucharest and Behor turned to the European Court of Justice because Romania is obligated to fight corruption under European law. In light of this and given the primacy of European law, they wanted to know how to deal with the rulings of the Constitutional Court. Judges are demanding their independence. You can expect disciplinary action in Romania if you ignore the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court.
Luxembourg’s decision is clear. According to the European Court of Justice, rulings of the Romanian Constitutional Court may not be applied if there is a systemic risk that corruption harming the EU will go unpunished. The organization of the judiciary is primarily a matter of member states; This also applies to the designation of individual court circuits. In fact these things are not harmonized under European law.
However, the European Court of Justice imposes limitations: here, too, member states are required to comply with their obligations under European law. In the case of Romania, this includes the effective fight against corruption. According to the Luxembourg judges, the rulings of the Constitutional Court contradict this. The decisions eventually led to the renegotiation and prolongation of criminal proceedings. The European Court of Justice describes a phenomenon that basically every legal system knows has several examples.
Luxembourg judges in particular emphasize the absolute precedence of European law. Developed by the Court of Justice in its Judicial Code since 1964. It is not standardized in contracts. The very general remarks of the European Court of Justice are read as a response to resistance to primacy recently drafted by the Polish Constitutional Court, for example.