José Luís da Cruz Vilaça

Managing Partner di Cruz Vilaça Advogados, ex Avvocato Generale e Giudice della Corte di giustizia dell'Unione europea

This article analyses the recent decision of the German Constitutional Court, where it considered that the PSPP (Public Sector Purchase Programme) adopted by the ECB (European Central Bank) was ultra vires. The author undertakes an in-depth analysis of the relationship between the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the constitutional courts of the Member States, also touching upon the fundamental principles of EU law underpinning such judicial cooperation, which is one of the main features of the Union’s judicial architecture. Such analysis leads to the conclusion that the German Constitutional Court misconstrued, inter alia, the principles of conferral and proportionality and threatened the very foundations of the EU legal order, of its integrity and autonomy, by replacing judicial cooperation with judicial confrontation and by ignoring the principle of equality of Member States before the Treaties and the principle of sincere cooperation between the Union and its Member States. Moreover, the decision of the German Constitutional Court defies the exclusive competences conferred to the ECJ by the Treaties, thus undermining the rule of law at the heart of the European Union. It also seriously endangers the independence of the ECB and the ESCB, including the Bundesbank, in performing their tasks in the field of monetary policy. Some final words are devoted to an assessment of the immediate consequences of the judgment, as well as possible ways to overcome it

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