On 13 February 2014, the Spanish Constitutional Court came to a final decision regarding the fate of Mr Stefano Melloni. The story of the case is worthy of attention not only from the perspective of the interaction between the Spanish Constitutional Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), but also from the standpoint of the conflicting levels of rights' protection in Europe. The story of Melloni can be described in three acts: setup, confrontation, and resolution.
First, the setup: in 2011, the Spanish Constitutional Court made its first and (so far) only preliminary reference to the CJEU. The Constitutional Court was faced with a collision between the constitutional right to fair trial of persons convicted in absentia and the obligation under EU law to execute a European arrest warrant (heretofore EAW). This setup generated great anticipation, both because of the protagonists and the type of conflict, since in this case what obstructed one member state from complying with EU law was its higher level of constitutional protection for the right in question.