2010 | 4(99) | 9-21
Article title

RESPECT FOR CONSTITUTIONAL IDENTITY OF THE MEMBER STATES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION (Poszanowanie tozsamosci konstytucyjnej panstw czlonkowskich Unii Europejskiej)

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Complementing the principle of conferred powers by an obligation of the European Union to respect the national identity of member states specified in Article 4(2) TEU, inseparably linked with their political and constitutional structures, has induced some constitutional courts to apply the notion of 'constitutional identity' to determine a more precise limits of Union's competences. Therefore, even if the notion of constitutional identity (similarly to national identity) is not legally defined, in the content of constitutions of the member states one can find the principles governing the existence of a state as a specific, separate and sovereign body. For example, from the jurisprudence of the French Council of State it follows that the constitutional principles which specifically reflect the modern French statehood include those which are specified in Articles 1 and 3 of the French Constitution. Moreover, the German Federal Constitutional Court held that the constitutional authorization for Germany's participation in the process of European integration must remain within the limits prescribed by Article 79 (3) of the Basic Law. An a priori determination of strict limits of the EU competences is neither possible nor desirable, because the ultimate shape of its system of government cannot be predicted yet. However, the consolidation of the principle of respect for constitutional identity and specification of its content may contribute to the strengthening of the sense of legal certainty in the complex legal order existing in the European Union. Then, reinforcing of the effectiveness of integration will be balanced by the specification, in concrete terms, of the limits of Union's interference in the domestic legal systems of member states. The ensuring of such balance will depend on harmonious cooperation between the Court of Justice of the European Union and the courts of member states, particularly those responsible for the review of constitutionality of law.
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  • Krzysztof Wojtowicz, Uniwersytet Wroclawski, Wydzial Prawa, Administracji i Ekonomii, ul. Uniwersytecka 22/26, 50-145 Wroclaw, Poland
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