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43 Am. J. Comp. L. 177 (1995)
The European Union after the Maastricth Decision: Will Germany be the Virginia of Europe

handle is hein.journals/amcomp43 and id is 191 raw text is: STEVE J. BOOM

The European Union After the Maastricht Decision:
Will Germany Be the Virginia of Europe?
In October 1993, the German Federal Constitutional Court is-
sued its Maastricht decision,' which both upheld the constitutionality
of the Treaty of Maastricht and paved the way for Germany's partici-
pation in the future of European integration. The Court's opinion,
however, contains statements that have caused quite a stir in the Eu-
ropean Union. Foremost among these is its pronouncement that the
Federal Constitutional Court will examine whether legal acts of the
European institutions and organs are within or exceed the sovereign
powers transferred to them.2 In other words, the Federal Constitu-
tional Court, not the European Court of Justice (ECJ), will decide
where the limits to European power lie, at least with respect to Ger-
many. Furthermore, the Court stated, legal acts of the Union which
exceed the competences outlined in the treaty, as interpreted by the
German court, will not be legally binding in Germany.3
The implications of these statements are profound. At stake are
the uniform application of Union law and the future of European in-
tegration itself. The danger to the central authority is not merely
the occasional dramatic conflict over the legitimacy of one or another
of its enactments, but the corrosive effect of continual challenges to
its authority that cannot be resolved authoritatively.4 Indeed, the
conflict over precisely this issue was one of the factors contributing to
the outbreak of the Civil War in the United States.5
These challenges to central authority could arise in several ways
in the Union, depending on the implementation of the Federal Con-
STEVE J. BOOM is an attorney-at-law with Arnold & Porter, Washington, DC. The
author wishes to thank Professor Joseph H.H. Weiler of Harvard Law School for his
inspiration and support. © 1995.
1. BVerfGE 89, 155 (1993) (hereinafter Maastricht). For an unofficial transla-
tion, see 33 I.L.M. 395 (1994).
2. Maastricht at 188.
3. Id.
4. Sandalow, The Expansion of Federal Legislative Authority, in Courts and
Free Markets 49, 51 (Terrance Sandalow & Eric Stein eds. 1982).
5. Interposition vs. Judicial Power, 1 Race Rel. L. Rep. 465, 466 (1956). See
also Charles G. Haines, The Role of the Supreme Court in American Government and
Politics 1789-1835, 331-613 (1973).

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