Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 December 2017
The role of European Judiciary in the process of European integration cannot be overestimated. The achievements of European integration after the second world war are usually analysed from the perspective of political decisions that were made, initially, by the Founding Fathers and, subsequently, by the political leaders of the European countries. However, in the public debate we very oft en forget how much we owe to the two supreme jurisdictions of Europe, that is the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights.
One cannot deny that without some “revolutionary” decisions of the Court of Justice, the process of European integration would never come to the place where we are now. We would have never achieved the level of integration that, despite some shortcomings, still remains unique in comparison to all other initiatives of economic and political integration in the rest of the world. The Court of Justice takes the mission of ensuring that “law is observed” seriously and continues to assure that it is the rule of law which is at the heart of the European Union. The strength of the European Union comes essentially from the fact that it constitutes an autonomous legal order which rests on the concepts of direct effect and supremacy. These latter concepts were not only developed by, but – and this must be emphasized – originated in the case law of the Court of Justice. The landmark decisions of the Court of Justice gave life to and strengthened the internal market that still remains the cornerstone and the main achievement of the European integration. One would not exaggerate by saying that political initiatives would remain “wishful thinking” if they were not supported by the historic decisions of the Court of Justice.
The contribution of the European Court of Human Rights is equally significant. It assured that the protection of human rights on our continent became effective and universal. The limits of human rights are no longer restricted to national boundaries nor exposed to the danger of national authorities abusing their discretionary competences.
- Publisher: IntersentiaPrint publication year: 2015