Wednesday

27th Mar 2019

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

EU on path towards whistleblower protection

EU lawmakers and member states have struck a political deal on the first-ever EU-wide directive on whistleblower protection - following years of big tax-evasion revelations and the laundering of dirty money in European banks.

Germany's CDU lukewarm on Macron's EU vision

Germany's anointed new leader has echoed France in calling for EU reform to combat populism - but with a stronger role for national governments and with little prospect of sharing German wealth.

Exclusive

Sefcovic campaign videos feature fellow commissioners

Maros Sefcovic, commission vice-president in charge of Energy Union, is running to be president of Slovakia. Now two of his fellow EU commissioners have endorsed him - raising questions about their independence.

News in Brief

  1. EU tables plan for joint approach to 5G security
  2. MEPs agree to scrap summer time clock changes by 2021
  3. European Parliament votes on reform of copyright
  4. New French-German parliament meets for first time
  5. EU parliament reduces polling ahead of elections
  6. UK parliament votes to take control of Brexit process
  7. EU publishes no-deal Brexit contingency plans
  8. EU urges Israel and Gaza to re-establish calm

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. EU lawmakers pass contentious copyright law
  2. France takes Chinese billions despite EU concerns
  3. Europe before the elections - heading back to the past?
  4. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  5. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  6. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  7. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  8. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us