Constitutional courts and transnational solidarity conflicts

The research project reconstructs conflicts over distribution and recognition within the EU, which have intensified during the Eurozone-crisis, as transnational solidarity conflicts. It analyzes particularly the role national and European constitutional courts play in these conflicts.

Conflict and conflict resolution

The Eurozone crisis is accompanied by a politicization of European governance. Transnational solidarity conflicts, which were pacified for a long time within the paradigm of a permissive consensus, have now developed a new quality. The tsc-project analyzes how these conflicts might be articulated and if constitutional courts may resolve them productively.

Research material

The research projects deals with the role of constitutional and apex courts in Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain as well as on the EU-level. It analyzes more than 100 judgements with regard to their management of transnational solidarity conflicts in the context of the Eurozone crisis.

Research aims

The tsc-project pursues three research aims: (1) to describe the dynamics of transnational solidarity conflicts and the institutional possibilities of their articulation; (2) to understand the consequences of tsc in the deep structures of national constitutional law; (3) to provide a normative yardstick for the role of constitutional courts in tsc.


The research project is affiliated at the Goethe-University Frankfurt and will be conducted in an intensive collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. It was launched on the 1st of March 2017 and is scheduled for five years.
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4. Constitutional courts in dialogue with other institutions

The fourth subproject examines the discontinuities in the relationship of constitutional courts and other political authorities during and through the financial and economic crisis.

  • Which instruments and techniques of decision-making have courts used or developed in order to secure the implementation of their decisions?
  • In relation to which type of conflict have they decreased the governmental and legislative scope of action, and where did they ensure or even enlarge the scope of action for policy-makers?

The project will analyze which modes of decision-making courts have applied to do so and if they succeeded in creating dialogue between courts and political authorities that might contribute to a productive conflict resolution. A productive conflict resolution can be assumed if constitutional rights can be protected without ruling out political reforms of existent social security systems.

  • Are courts able to channel the destructive potential of TSC and enact an integrative mode of conflict resolution, which entails an inclusive consideration of the interests of various political actors?
  • Or is the judicial mode of conflict resolution inappropriate, as it is not aiming at preference-based decision-making in contrast to the political mode?

Furthermore, the subproject questions to which extent the concrete techniques of decision-making initiated a transnational dialogue between national and European courts during the financial and economic crisis. In this context, we hypothesize that such a dialogue has been launched mainly with regard to those types of conflicts that touch upon the horizon of solidarity, i.e. the question on which level solidarity conflicts ought to be decided and when these decisions can claim legitimacy.

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