Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 8, 2017

EU Law in the Czech Republic: From ultra vires of the Czech Government to ultra vires of the EU Court?

Ivo Šlosarčík
From the journal ICL Journal


Before the Czech Republic joined the European Union in 2004, its constitution has been amended with objective to guarantee constitutional conformity of the EU accession. The Czech legal system has been opened to external legal provisions and a constitutional mechanism has been established for transfer of competencies to an external entity, all framed by the explicitly formulated constitutional principle of loyalty to the international obligations of the Czech Republic. However, the ‘European amendment’ of the Czech Constitution has left several important issues unanswered, such as the principle of supremacy of the EU law or relations between the Czech Constitutional Court and the Court of Justice of the EU.

This article analyses how the Czech Constitutional Court tackled with EU-related constitutional issues that emerged during the first decade of Czech membership in the EU. Focused on four key cases decided by the Czech Constitutional Court (sugar quotas, European Ar­rest Warrant, Lisbon Treaty, Slovak Pensions), the article will demonstrate how the Czech Constitutional Court combined a conservative and pragmatic approach in its EU law related case-law by formulating a constitutional doctrine of a ‘EU-friendly’ interpretation of Czech constitutional rules, while, at the same time, leaving the EU law formally outside the frontiers of Czech constitutional law and refusing EU law to be used as the ultimate argument in intra-judiciary disputes in the Czech Republic.

Published Online: 2017-2-8
Published in Print: 2015-9-1

© 2017 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston