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integration 3/21

Inga Kjer / IEP
Inga Kjer / IEP

The political power game between France and Turkey, the "new agenda" for the Mediterranean, three readings of the German Constitutional Court’s PSPP ruling and other topics in the new issue of integration.

Recently, the conflict between Poland and the European Union regarding the Polish violation of the judgments of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) escalated. However: Germany has also a dispute with the ECJ after the German Constitutional Court’s PSPP ruling in May 2020. In this issue, the authors present three readings of the ruling. The other articles deal with Franco-Turkish relations, their deterioration during the recent months and what opportunities lie herein, as well as the EU's recently launched new Agenda for the Mediterranean.

Ronja Kempin discusses the causes and effects of the conflictual relationship between France and Turkey. In addition, it examines the resulting possibilities for a readjustment of the EU's Turkey policy as well as the distribution of roles among the (foreign policy) EU institutions.. The article by Anja Zorob, elaborates the EU's "new agenda" for the Mediterranean region. In the forum section are three contributions discussing the PSPP ruling: Christian Walter gives an initial assessment of developments after the ruling and discusses its impact on the relations between Union law and the German constitutional law. For Achim-Rüdiger Börner, the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court not only has concrete implications for the Union as a whole, but at the same time calls into question the intra-European sovereignty and balance of power. Finally, Peter-Christian Müller-Graff ponders the question, which chances for the modernization of the perception of EU law have been created for specific courts (ECJ and BVerfG) by the ruling after a year of pandemic. Meike Schmidt-Gleim and Claudia Wiesner report on the international conference of the Arbeitskreis Europäische Integration about crisis rhetoric concerning the EU. Mirjam Zillober reports on the conference, which dealt with the role of the regions in the multi-level system of the Union.

France and Turkey - power poker without winners

Ronja Kempin

In the summer of 2020, Franco-Turkish relations deteriorated dramatically. Since then, Paris has accused Ankara of deliberately influencing the Turkish diaspora in France in order to undermine the values of the French Republic. In terms of foreign policy, France criticizes Turkey for encircling the European Union (EU) and its member states with the consequence of deliberately acting against their interests. Neither the ideological nor the geopolitical power poker of the two states has produced a winner. The Franco-Turkish rivalries offer the EU the opportunity to undertake a comprehensive reorientation of its Turkey policy. The expansion of its conditionality to include domestic political issues is just as important as an improved division of roles and work in its institutions and the geopolitical view of the respective neighbourhood.

The renewed partnership with the southern neighbourhood: what is new about the "new agenda"?

Anja Zorob

In February 2021, the European Commission came up with “a new Agenda for the Mediterranean” (new Agenda). After the latest review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2015, a new strategy had been expected for some time. Which aspects, however, are “new” in the new Agenda? Based on a review of the last 25 years of Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) and Neighbourhood Policy, the article explores to what extent the new Agenda is set to offer any change deserving to be called genuine or merely reflects old wine in new bottles. Within a content and discourse analytical approach, the article tracks how the concepts’ major topics and strategic frames evolved over the course of the years with a focus on the specific aspect of securitization.

Where are Ultra-vires- and Identity Control heading to? An interim result based on the decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court in the PSPP trial

Christian Walter

The article takes stock of the consequences which the decisions of the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) concerning the Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP) of the European Union (EU) have had on the relation between EU law and the German constitution. The interplay between the PSPP judgment of 5 May 2020 and a follow-up decision on its enforcement reveals a certain degree of back-paddling by the FCC. Irrespective of the infringement procedure, which the European Commission recently initiated against Germany, there are good chances for a respite for both the FCC and the Court of Justice of the EU. It is up to the FCC to use this period to clarify where it is headed with its jurisprudence on controlling the application of EU law in Germany.

The PSPP decision of the Federal Constitutional Court: Scope of the transfer of sovereignty and review of the use of discretionary powers

Achim-Rüdiger Börner

In its judgment of 5 May 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) has held that the Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP) of the European Central Bank (ECB), which started in 2015, and the relevant decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) of 11 December 2018, holding that the programme is compatible with European Union (EU) law, are ultra vires acts. Indeed, this decision is based on a French understanding of discretion which has previously been adopted in the European Treaties and according to which discretion is controlled only for undue, illegal influence. Today, the Treaties have adopted a review of discretion under the aspects of suitability, necessity, and appropriateness. Moreover, criticism at the decision of the FCC neglects that the accession to and the membership in the EU have to observe the thresholds of the respective national constitution, as its violation is not and may not be expected by the Union or any other Member State. Ultra vires acts of the Union, which remain uncorrected by the Union itself, are subject to disapproval and rejection by the constitutional court of any Member State.

The Karlsruhe PSPP verdict - one Corona year later

Peter-Christian Müller-Graff

This article scrutinizes the impact of the widely criticized PSPP-judgement of the Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) on the Union´s legal order. It shows that the European Commission´s opening of an infringement procedure was inevitable due to the FCC´s disregard of the rules of the preliminary reference procedure, denies the necessity of a modification of the Union´s judicial architecture and develops recommendations for the future loyal cooperation between the FCC and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in handling such disputes.

About the integration project: The quarterly journal "integration" is a theory-driven and policy-related interdisciplinary forum for fundamental questions of European integration. Contemporary issues in European politics are discussed from a political and academic perspective.

ISSN/ISBN: 0720-5120
Image copyright: Inga Kjer / IEP