Chapter 5 Suggested approaches to end-of-chapter questions

Supremacy of EU law

1. Outline the reasons and logic provided by the CoJ in the Costa v ENEL and later judgments for the supremacy of EU law over national law.

The EU view on supremacy is that because of its unique nature, EU law denies member states the right to resolve conflicts of law by reference to their own rules or constitutional provisions. EU law obtains its supremacy because of the transfer of state power and sovereignty to the EU in those areas agreed. The member states have provided the EU with legislative powers to enable it to perform its tasks. There would be no point in such a transfer of power if the member states could annul or suspend the effect of EU law by later national law or provisions of the constitutions. If that were allowed to be the case, the existence of the EU legal order and the Union itself would be called into question. A precondition of the existence and functioning of the EU is the uniform and consistent application of EU law in all the member states. It can only achieve such an effect if it takes precedence over national law.

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