Bilateral Meeting Between the Constitutional Court of Hungary and the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia26 November 2019
At the bilateral meeting, the Constitutional Court of Hungary (CCoH) was represented by President Tamás Sulyok, Judges Ildikó Marosi and András Zs. Varga, Secretary General Botond Bitskey and Attila Szabó, Head of the Presidential Cabinet, whilst the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia (CCoRC) was represented by President Miroslav Šeparović, Vice-President Snježana Bagić, Judge Davorin Mlakar and Ksenija Podgornik, Director of the Presidential Office.
Firstly, President Tamás Sulyok emphasized the importance of the erga omnes effect of the decisions of the constitutional courts, referring to the request for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), submitted by the Supreme Court of Romania (C-357/19). He added that very foundations of constitutional justice would be threatened if the erga omnes effect could be questioned by an other institution.
Since the main competences of the CCoH and the CCoRC, inspired by the German dogmatics, were the constitutional complaint procedures the problematic questions that could arise were similar. Bearing this in mind, President Tamás Sulyok underlined that the autonomy and primacy of the Union law guaranteed its sui genesis nature. However, the dialogue between the CJEU and the constitutional courts of the Member States could be granted only on the basis of relative, not on basis of absolute supremacy of the Union law. Finally, he pointed out that the CCoH had formulated in its decisions that national laws shall be interpreted in the light of the European obligations (‘European friendly’) and stated the outmost importance of the judicial dialogue.
In his presentation, Miroslav Šeparović thoroughly evaluated the relationship between the constitutional courts of the member states and the CJEU. In this regard, he pointed out that so far, no reason had occurred in front of the CCoRC to request a preliminary ruling from the CJEU. Having said that, CCoRC had established a fruitful cooperation with the CJEU. President Miroslav Šeparović advocated that the CCoRC’s primary goal was to protect fundamental rights but it had also dealt with the possible interpretation and protection of national identity (in this regard he referred to different national adjudications, such as the German case-law, the Melloni or the Taricco judgments).
Vice-President Snježana Bagić indicated that the collision between national and Union law was not always possible to detect, thus the borderline between national identity and the application of Union law was to be considered thin. Mrs Vice-President Snježana Bagić agreed on the importance of the institutional dialogue but she added that the ergma omnes effect of the decisions of the constitutional courts shall not be questioned. The collision between the national constitutional courts and the Luxembourg court could be regarded as problem of jurisdictional nature, however, national shall be taken into consideration and applied.
The representatives of the courts agreed on continuing their discussion and they committed themselves for deepening their cooperation.