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The European Court of Justice and the Autonomy of the Member States

Book | 1st edition 2012 | Europe | Hans-Wolfgang Micklitz, Bruno de Witte

Whereas individual Member State governments occasionally complain about judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union, especially when those judgments curtail that state’s policy autonomy in a sensitive domain, the collectivity of the Member State governments have agreed, in each treaty revision so far, to confirm and extend the far-reaching powers which the Court of Justice possesses for enforcing EU law. The explanation of the paradox can only be that, deep down, the Member States of the EU remain convinced that an effective Court of Justice with strong enforcement powers is one of the salient features of European Union law which have stood the test of time, and feel no inclination to clip the wings of that Court for fear that this would affect the effectiveness of the European integration process. Nevertheless, the grumblings about single judgments, or about the consistency and direction of the Court in particular policy fields, have never ceased, and indeed have become more audible in recent years. This book deals with the perception that the Court of Justice, quite often, does not leave sufficient autonomy to the Member States in developing their own legal and policy choices in areas where European and national competences overlap.

About this book
‘[…] a book addressing the issue of the ECJ and Member State autonomy could not have come at a more fortunate time. [It] deserves to be praised […] for the high quality of its individual chapters. The contributions were written by renowned experts in the respective fields and offer interesting new insights into the Court’s case law and into the role the latter has played in the European project. […] More research into this field is needed. The present book is an invaluable starting point for scholars wanting to embark on this journey.’
Elke Cloots in 50 CMLR (2013)

Technical info
More Information
Type of product Book
Format Paperback
EAN / ISSN 9781780681139
Weight 852 g
Status Available
Number of pages xiv + 414 p.
Access to exercice No
Publisher Intersentia
Language English
Publication Date Feb 2, 2012
Available on Jurisquare No
Available on Strada Belgique No
Available on Strada Europe No
Available on Strada Luxembourg No


  • Table of Contents
  • part I. Introduction
  • Judge-Made Integration?
  • part II . The General Shape of Member State Autonomy in the Court’s Case Law
  • Competence and Member State Autonomy: Causality, Consequence and Legitimacy
  • The European Court of Justice’s Approach to Primacy and European Constitutionalism – Preserving the European Constitutional Order?
  • The Judge’s Role in European Integration – The Court of Justice and Its Critics
  • How Proportionate is the Proportionality Principle? Some critical remarks on the use and methodology of the proportionality principle in the internal market case law of the ECJ
  • Judicial Activism or Constitutional Interaction? Policymaking by the ECJ in the Field of Union Citizenship
  • “Reserved Areas” of the Member States and the ECJ: the Case of Higher Education
  • The European Court of Justice, Member State Autonomy and European Union Citizenship: Conjunctions and Disjunctions
  • part IV. Fundamental Rights
  • The Case of Fundamental Rights: a State of Ambivalence
  • Fundamental Rights Jurisprudence Between Member States’ Prerogatives and Citizens’ Autonomy
  • A Pluralistic Europe of Rights
  • part V. procedural autonomy of the states
  • The “Procedural Autonomy” of Member States and the Constraints Stemming from the ECJ’s Case Law: Is Judicial Activism Still Necessary?
  • Why There is No Principle of “Procedural Autonomy” of the Member States
  • National Voice and European Loyalty. Member State Autonomy, European Remedies and Constitutional Pluralism in EU Law
  • part VI. concluding remarks – the right’s dimension
  • The ECJ Between the Individual Citizen and the Member States – A Plea for a Judge-Made European Law on Remedies
  • Index