CYIL vol. 12 (2021)

Dimitris Liakopoulos CYIL 12 (2021) monitor compliance with the obligations imposed by the Union law, an attribution which in turn is its own. Retracing the argumentative path of the CJEU, one gets the impression that the verification on the compatibility with the competences attributed by the treaties was carried out according to a decidedly deferential scrutiny standard, less rigorous than that used in the occasions in which the attributions of the CJEU were involved. Some perplexities may therefore arise with regard to the suitability of the test, followed by due consideration of the possible implications on the internal level, and especially on the institutional balance, of the functions exercised by the institutions outside the legal system of the Union 136 . It should be borne in mind that the actions taken by the institutions on the basis of international agreements could in fact reflect on the actions of the institutions themselves in carrying out the tasks assigned by the founding treaties. For example, the EC decision whether and in what form to present a legislative proposal could be influenced by the functions it exercises under an agreement between Member States. Moreover, the assignment of demanding and cumbersome tasks could entail an overload of work for the Institutions involved and compromise their efficiency also in the exercise of competences conferred by the treaties 137 . Potentially even more serious are the implications on the level of inter-institutional relations. In fact, Member States are free to choose which institutions to involve and what functions to assign to them, provided they are not incompatible with the founding treaties. This could result in a significant strengthening of the powers of some institutions to the detriment of others. With regard to the relationship between the European Parliament and the EC, it could be argued that Parliament exercises in any case, on the basis of the treaties, a political control over the EC, which can go as far as the motion of censure. It is not clear, however, whether and to what extent Parliament’s political control can be effective also in relation to actions carried out outside the Union’s legal system. A major guarantee is the fact that the institutions concerned are not bound by the agreement between Member States and are therefore not obliged to carry out the tasks which it assigns to them, unlike what is done for the competences governed by Union law 138 . On the contrary, it is to be held that the institutions are obliged to carry out these tasks in such a way as not to jeopardize the effectiveness of their work internally or the institutional balance and that, if this is not possible, they must refuse to perform the functions attributed by the agreement. 136 CRAIG, P. Pringle and use of EU Institutions, op. cit., pp. 275ss. The author believes that the mere compatibility of the tasks assigned by the international agreement with the attributions conferred by the treaties does not represent a sufficient guarantee. 137 BEUKERS, T. The eurozone crisis and the legitimacy of differentiated integration, in DE WITTE, B., HÉRITIER, A., TRECHSEL, A.H. (eds), The euro crisis and the state of European democracy , op. cit., pp. 25ss. ESTELLA, A. Legal foundations of European Union economic governance , Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2018, pp. 212ss. HINAREJOS, A. The euro area crisis in constitutional perspective , Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015, pp. 128ss. 138 See the conclusions of the Advocate General Jacobs in case Bangladesh (conclusions of 16 December 1992, joined cases: C-181/91 and C-248/91, European Parliament v. Council and Commission , ECLI:EU:C:1992:520, I-03685). In argument see: WOODS, L., WATSON, P. Steiner &Woods Europan Union law, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014, pp. 268ss. DE WAELE, H. Layered global player: Legal dynamics of European Union external relations , ed. Springer, Berlin, 2011.


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