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The Constitution of European Democracy$
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Dieter Grimm

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805120

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805120.001.0001

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The Basic Law as a Barrier against a Transformation of the EU into a State

The Basic Law as a Barrier against a Transformation of the EU into a State

Comments on the Lisbon Judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court

(p.207) 11 The Basic Law as a Barrier against a Transformation of the EU into a State
The Constitution of European Democracy

Dieter Grimm

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how Germany’s Basic Law can prevent the transformation of the European Union into a state. It begins with a discussion of the German Federal Constitutional Court’s (Bundesverfassungsgericht) 2009 decision on the compatibility of the Lisbon Treaty with the Basic Law. In particular, it highlights the message of the Bundesverfassungsgericht’s judgment: that European integration will not be hindered by Germany but finds it limits in the Basic Law. It then explains why, on the side of the EU, the German Court puts so much weight on the treaty character of the EU’s legal basis and why, on the side of the Member States, much emphasis is placed on sovereignty. It also considers the question of whether Germany would be allowed to join a federal European state if its democratic legitimacy were at the level required by Article 79(3) Basic Law.

Keywords:   democratic legitimacy, Basic Law, European Union, German Federal Constitutional Court, Bundesverfassungsgericht, Lisbon Treaty, European integration, Germany, sovereignty, European state

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