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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5. Constitutional courts and the organization of public authority in the European judicial area

In the fifth subproject we analyze whether, and if so, to which extent the role of constitutional courts has changed with regard to the organization of public authority. This requires a comparative analysis of the previous role of national constitutional courts in securing the separation of powers and in reviewing legislative acts on the national level. On this basis, we first investigate how the court's role within the national political system has been changing due to TSC, and second how this shift is initiated by the fact that public authority – especially in the realm of TSC – is exercised to an increasing extent on the supranational level. The separation of powers is not limited to the different powers on the national level but includes supranational legislation, jurisprudence and governance. Furthermore, decisions of national courts, governments and legislators can limit the scope of action for corresponding political bodies in other member states. Therefore, we have to take into account a horizontal, transnational dimension of the separation of powers when analyzing the role of constitutional courts with respect to the organization of public powers.

One of the major normative concerns of the research project is the question whether and with regard to which type of conflict the interference of constitutional courts can be justified. The aim is to qualify the legitimate function of constitutional courts in TSC within a transnational, democratic system of checks and balances. The ultimate aim is to evaluate the strategies and normative concepts developed by constitutional courts in order to solve TSC.

In a final step, we want to develop potential procedural solutions for judicial conflict resolution that take into account the transnational structure of public authority within the European judicial realm. In this context, our aim is to create a more inclusive form of conflict resolution by constitutional courts and to involve different constitutional perspectives in a direct dialogue.

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