The Institutional Balance, an Ill-Fated Principle of EU Law?

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Series Details Vol.21, No.2, June 2015, p371–391
Publication Date June 2015
ISSN 1354-3725
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The institutional balance is a concept often used in EU legal doctrine as well as being regularly invoked by parties before the Court. In theory, it is a genuine self-standing principle of EU law as recognized by the Court of Justice, in practice however it is simply used as an easy shorthand for the (Treaty-defined) rules governing the relations between the institutions. An analysis of the Court's jurisprudence indeed shows that despite having qualified the institutional balance as a legal principle, the Court is unreceptive towards arguments based thereupon. In combination with recent developments, inter alia related to the political responses to the euro crisis, flouting the EU's institutional balance, it may be questioned whether the institutional balance really is an actionable principle of EU law. The Court should clarify the situation by actually enforcing the institutional balance or by reconsidering its qualification of that balance as a legal principle.

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