Friday

21st Jul 2017

German court to begin hearing on EU treaty

  • The hearing is to last two days (Photo: EUobserver)

Germany's highest court will today (10 February) begin a hearing on whether the EU's Lisbon treaty undermines the country's own constitution by weakening the power of the national parliament.

The hearing is to last two days, an exceptionally long time, seen as an indication of how seriously the court is taking the challenge.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The judges will look at whether the Lisbon Treaty - designed to improve decision-making in the EU - is not democratic, and therefore anti-constitutional, because it takes away power from Germany's parliament.

The case was brought conservative MP Peter Gauweiler as well as left-wing deputies from Die Linke political party.

An example given by Mr Gauweiler in written evidence takes the hypothetical case of a German environment minister wanting to get a ban on a particular light bulb.

If the initiative fails at national level in Bundestag, then the minister could present the idea in European Council, at EU leader level.

Support by other member states at this level could mean that the European Commission is asked to present a lightbulb proposal which eventually could get turned into EU law, despite Germany's parliament having rejected the proposal.

The hearing is being keenly followed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government which has sent Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble to defend the government's case.

The challenge is politically important for Ms Merkel who has been a strong supporter of the treaty.

If Mr Gauweiler's case is upheld by the court, it would be a big blow to both the chancellor and the treaty's ratification process.

So far, the treaty has been through most of the process - it has been approved by both houses of parliament and signed by Germany's president. But the final step of ratification, handing the papers over in Rome, has been postponed pending the court decision.

The judgement is expected to be made in two to three months. But even if the court comes out in favour of the Lisbon Treaty, the process may not be over. Last month, a separate group handed in another complaint on the treaty, listing political and economic faults.

The court has yet to decide whether to take on the case.

Elsewhere, the fate of the treaty remains uncertain too. The Czech Republic has yet to begin ratification of the treaty, while Ireland is facing a second referendum on the document after its citizens rejected it last June.

Poland's President, meanwhile, has said he will not sign the treaty until it has been accepted in Ireland.

German court handed new complaint on EU treaty

Germany's constitutional court has been handed a second complaint over the EU's Lisbon Treaty with the potential to delay the country's final ratification of the document for several months.

German constitutional court to examine Lisbon treaty

Germany's constitutional court is preparing for an unusually long hearing on the EU's Lisbon treaty, in a process that will help determine the fate of the document across the European Union.

Investigation

Inside the Code of Conduct, the EU's most secretive group

The informal group of national officials that is in charge of checking EU countries' tax laws is now working on the first EU blacklist of tax havens, amid critiques over its lack of transparency and accountability.

Ombudsman asks for more details on Barroso case

Emily O'Reilly has asked the EU Commission to say what former commissioners should be allowed to do after they leave office and explain why it took no decision over its former president's controversial new job.

Investigation

Inside the Code of Conduct, the EU's most secretive group

The informal group of national officials that is in charge of checking EU countries' tax laws is now working on the first EU blacklist of tax havens, amid critiques over its lack of transparency and accountability.

Ombudsman asks for more details on Barroso case

Emily O'Reilly has asked the EU Commission to say what former commissioners should be allowed to do after they leave office and explain why it took no decision over its former president's controversial new job.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary