A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Germany constitutional court approves EU reform treaty

[JURIST] The German Constitutional Court [official website, in German] ruled [judgment; press release] Tuesday that the European Union (EU) [official website] reform treaty, also known as the Lisbon Treaty [EU materials; text], is compatible with the German Basic Law [text], but requires parliamentary reforms before it can be ratified. German President Horst Kohler [official profile, in German] had withheld his signature after the measure was passed by the German parliament and asked the court to review the constitutionality of the treaty in light of allegations by some MPs that it undermined Germany's sovereignty. Addressing these concerns, the court said:

With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Federal Republic of Germany will remain a sovereign state. In particular, the substance of German state authority is protected. The distribution of the European Union's competences ... takes place according to the principle of conferral and according to other mechanisms of protection.... The transfer of sovereign powers to the European Union ... is not called into question by individual provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon.

The court also ruled that domestic reforms, requiring that the German representative in the European Council have parliamentary approval before moving forward, are necessary before the treaty ratification can be completed.

Efforts to ratify [JURIST news archive] the treaty in all of the 27 member countries required for approval have met some obstacles. Although the treaty has been approved in 23 countries, Irish voters rejected [JURIST report] the treaty last June, leading Czech President Vaclav Klaus [official website] to refuse to sign the measure, despite approval [JURIST report] by the Czech Senate [official website]. Last July, Polish President Lech Kaczynski [official website] refused to sign [JURIST report] the treaty despite parliamentary approval, calling it "pointless" in light of the Irish rejection. Ireland agreed this month to hold a second referendum [JURIST report] after EU leaders agreed to certain concessions [presidency conclusions, PDF].

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.