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Lisbon Treaty News: German Constitutional Court delays Germany’s ratification of the Lisbon Treaty
Tuesday June 30, 2009 21:35 by O. O'C. - National Platform EU Research & Information Centre info at nationalplatform dot org 24 Crawford Ave. Dublin 9 01 8305792
It seems that the Constitutional Court is saying that Germany, at least , must ensure that their parliament - both houses - participates in major EU decisions.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says the Constitutional Court ruling is demanding a law to guarantee the rights of the German Parliament in the EU decision-making process.
If that is so, should not Oireachtas Eireann have a law requiring this too - and Westminster and Paris and Prague and Bucharest, and 22 others?
Should not all EU National Parliaments also have “participation in European lawmaking procedures”?
Below for your information is a news item received from Open Europe, London, on the German Constitutional Court’s decision of this morning on the Lisbon Treaty.
Appended to this post is a link to the Constitutional Court’s decision in English.
The most important operative paragraphs of the Court’s ruling seem to be these ones:-
The Basic Law does not grant the German state bodies powers to transfer sovereign powers in such a way that their exercise can independently establish other competences for the European Union. It prohibits the transfer of competence to decide on its own competence (Kompetenz-Kompetenz).
The principle of conferral is therefore not only a principle of European law (Article 5.1 of the Treaty on European Union; Article 5.1 sentence 1 and 5.12 of the Treaty on European Union in its version of the Treaty of Lisbon ), but, just like the European Union’s obligation to respect the Member States’ national identity (Article 6.3 TEU; Article 4.2 sentence 1 TEU Lisbon), it takes up constitutional principles from the Member States. The integration programme of the European Union must therefore be sufficiently precise.
To the extent that the Member States elaborate the law laid down in the Treaties in such a way that, with the principle of conferral fundamentally continuing to apply, an amendment of the law laid down in the Treaties can be brought about without a ratification procedure, a special responsibility is incumbent on the legislative bodies, apart from the Federal Government, as regards participation, which, in Germany, must, on the national level, comply with the requirements under Article 23.1 of the Basic Law (responsibility for integration).
The act approving a treaty amending a European Treaty and the national accompanying laws must therefore be such that European integration continues to take place according to the principle of conferral without the possibility for the European Union of taking possession of Kompetenz-Kompetenz or to violate the Member States’ constitutional identity which is not amenable to integration, in this case, that of the Basic Law.
For borderline cases of what is still constitutionally admissible, the German legislature must, if necessary, make arrangements with its laws that accompany approval to ensure that the responsibility for integration of the legislative bodies can sufficiently develop.
- Anthony Coughlan
German Constitutional Court suspends ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, demanding a change to German law giving parliament more say over EU decision-making
CREDIT: Open Europe 30 June 2009
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports that the German Constitutional Court has ruled that the Lisbon Treaty is compatible with the German Constitution, but has withheld approval for immediate ratification, demanding a law to guarantee the rights of the German Parliament in the EU decision-making process.
The press release of the Constitutional Court notes that the German ratification act should be modified because the German Lower House and Upper House “have not been accorded sufficient rights of participation in European lawmaking procedures and treaty amendment procedures.”
It continues: “the Federal Republic of Germany’s instrument of ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon may not be deposited as long as the constitutionally required legal elaboration of the parliamentary rights of participation has not entered into force.”
The press release notes that: “the further development of the competences of the European Parliament can reduce, but not completely fill, the gap between the extent of the decision-making power of the Union’s institutions and the citizens’ democratic power of action in the Member States.”
FT Deutschland notes that “the Judges have considered the EU to have a democratic deficit. Therefore sovereign rights such as decisions on budgetary matters or on penal law, cannot be transferred to the EU without the consent of the German Lower and Upper House”. The newspaper reports that this means the German Parliament will in future need to consent to any changes to the EU treaties, with Frankfurter Rundschau reporting that military operations, “which could be possible after Lisbon”, will have to be approved by the German Parliament.
Deutsche Welle quotes the Court saying: “If one wanted to summarise this result, one could say: the Constitutional Court says ‘yes’ to the Lisbon Treaty but demands that parliament’s right to participation be strengthened at the national level.”
Die Welt notes that the German law giving the Parliament more say could pass soon, with a first reading to be held on 26 August. The leader of the Christian Democrat faction leader in the German Parliament Norbert Röttgen has announced that the second and third reading are planned for 8 September. German elections are to be held on 27 September.
Open Europe has published a new poll, conducted by German polling company Psyma, which shows that 77 percent of German voters want a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.