This article attempts to discover the key elements of the democratic principle, as described by the judges sitting in Luxembourg and Strasbourg, whose case law reveals the underlying idea of democracy at the supranational level. Until recently the debate on democracy was limited to the national level. But things are changing, and this article shows the gradual emergence of a process led by supranational courts, in which the application of the democratic principle finds multiple grades and variations. In this way the supranational/international courts have opened a new chapter in the process of constitutionalization of international law.
The recast of the European Insolvency Regulation, which has been applicable from 26 June 2017, implements a philosophy of Euro universalism, according to which in solvency proceedings opened in a Member State where the debtor has its centre of main in terests (COMI) should have a universal scope and encompass all the debtor’s assets situated throughout the EU. The wording of the Recast Regulation is in tended to comply with the ECJ case law concerning COMI, such as Interedil, Eurofood, Bank Handlowy or Mediasucre judgments. Nevertheless, it is now questioned whether the Recast Regulation strengthens or rather weakens the COMI/registered office rebuttable presumption and opens the gate for in solvency forum shopping. As far as international company law is concerned, the issue of transfer of seat as well as forum shopping has been widely discussed. So far the ECJ has issued a series of judgments in which it has explained the European freedom of establishment and the cross-border activities of companies in the internal market. Similarly, the US Supreme Court has issued several significant decisions, such as CTP Corp. v. Dynamics Corp. of America, Edgar v. MITE Corp., and International Shoe Co. v. State of Washington, in which the limits of acceptable forum shopping are better delin eated. Based on the aforementioned, it may be concluded that European harmonization measures facilitating cross-border mobility should additionally assist in achieving predictability and efficiency, as well as the economic viability and security of the operations under consideration. This contribution analyses and expounds on the lessons that can be learned from both the ECJ case law as well as US Supreme Court’s decisions on in ternational company law, in cluding an examin ation of their effect on in solvency forum shoppin g. There is no doubt that, if successful, harmonized legislation on these matters would be a great asset for the internal market.
This article seeks to explore whether the EU system of fundamental rights protection allows room for constitutional pluralism. By looking at recent developments in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (the Court of Justice), it is submitted that the Court has answered that question in the affirmative, thereby respecting the diversity of the cultures and traditions of the peoples of Europe as well as their national identities. The application of the Charter does not rule out a cumulative application of fundamental rights. That being said, pluralism is not absolute, but must be weighed against the indivisible and universal values on which the European Union is founded. Logically, the question that arises is how we order pluralism. In this regard, I shall argue that it is not for the Court of Justice to decide when an EU uniform standard of fundamental rights protection is to replace (or coexist with) national standards. That decision is for the EU political institutions to adopt, since they enjoy the necessary democratic legitimacy to determine the circumstances under which the exercise of a fundamental right is to be limited for reasons of public interest. However, this deference to the EU political branches does not mean that EU legislative decisions are immune from judicial review. On the contrary, cases such as Schwarz and Digital Rights demonstrate that the Court of Justice is firmly committed to examining whether those legislative choices comply with primary EU law, and notably with the Charter. In this regard, when interpreting the provisions of the Charter, the Court of Justice – in dialogue with national courts and, in particular, constitutional courts – operates as the guarantor of the rule of law within the EU, of which fundamental rights are part and parcel. It is thus for those courts to make sure that each and every EU citizen enjoys a sphere of individual liberty which must, as defined by the Charter, remain free from public interferences.