Return of the <i>Solange</i> Ghost: the Supremacy of EU Law and the Democracy Paradox

Wojciech Sadurski

in Constitutionalism and the Enlargement of Europe

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199696789
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741722 | DOI:
Return of the Solange Ghost: the Supremacy of EU Law and the Democracy Paradox

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Soon after the accession of Central and Eastern European states 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 being the guardians of national standards of human rights protection and democratic principles. This raises a democracy paradox in the way that national governments have negotiated their accession to the EU: if accession to the EU was supposed to be the most stable guarantee of human rights and democracy in post-Communist states, how can the supremacy of EU law now be resisted on these very grounds? This chapter shows that the sources of these constitutional courts’ adherence to the ‘Solange’ pattern are primarily domestic, and that it is a strategic tool used to strengthen their position vis-à-vis other national political actors. It is argued that these courts may have genuine causes for concern about such supremacy when the most cherished constitutional values and rights are at stake.

Keywords: constitutional courts; EU law; constitutional law; Poland; Hungary; Czech Republic; Estonia; Central and Eastern Europe; democracy

Chapter.  19198 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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