ECJ / Hard Cases

"Hard" Cases of Non-Compliance with EU Law:
Implementation Theories in the Light of Second ECJ Referrals

Support by funds of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank is gratefully acknowledged (Anniversary Fund, project number 13261).

Duration: 2009 - 2014

European integration nowadays touches almost all policy areas, but enterprises still do not necessarily find themselves on a level playing field. One of the most serious problems in that regard is that EU law is not always respected in the Member States. In some cases, EU Member States will not obey to EU rules even after having been condemned by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). These second referrals to the ECJ as “hard” cases of non-compliance have not been studied systematically so far, but they provide a valuable opportunity to shed new light on the relevance of the main theories of non-compliance. What are the most important factors that make Member States persistently violate EU law, and are they uniform or varying? Our project will analyse quantitatively and qualitatively all 55 European Commission decisions for a second referral to the ECJ between 1997 and 2007. The “worst examples” will hence contribute to a better understanding of the overall phenomenon of disrespect for EU law. This is of importance for individual member states (like Austria) with their citizens and firms, as much as for the future of the European integration project in overall terms.

Link to the database: Archive of ECJ Penalization Proceedings