'Solange, Chapter 3': Constitutional Courts in Central Europe - Democracy - European Union
EUI LAW Working Paper No. 2006/40
42 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2007
Date Written: December 2006
Soon after the accession of eight post-communist States from Central and Eastern Europe to the EU, the constitutional courts of some of these countries questioned the principle of supremacy of EU law over national constitutional systems, on the basis of their being the guardians of national standards of protection of human rights and of democratic principles. In doing so, they entered into the well-known pattern of behaviour favoured by a number of constitutional courts of the older Europe, which is called a Solange story for the purposes of this article. But this resistance is ridden with paradoxes, the most important of which is a democracy paradox: while accession to the EU was supposed to be the most stable guarantee for human rights and democracy in postcommunist States, how can the supremacy of EU law be now resisted on these very grounds? It is argued that the sources of these constitutional courts' adherence to the Solange pattern are primarily domestic, and that it is a way of strengthening their position vis-à-vis other national political actors, especially at a time when the role and independence of those courts face serious domestic challenges.
Keywords: European law, supremacy, fundamental/human rights, East-Central Europe, European Court of Justice
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