Volume 45 (2008) / Issue 5
Until the greatest enlargement of the European Union in 2004, the question of inter–temporal application of the preliminary procedure had not raised any particular controversies. The ECJ adopted a very liberal approach towards the questions submitted by the courts of the new Member States, even if the application of the EC law in a particular case was doubtful. This line of judgments changed after the “big enlargement” in 2004. There are striking examples of this in the judgments issued on preliminary questions referred by the courts of the new Member States, in which the ECJ seemed to ignore the rules pertaining to the principles of the EU law application ratione temporis and the binding force of the national court?s assessment of whether the question is necessary to adjudicate the case. The article analyses first the principles of the applicability of EU law ratione temporis. Then it deals with the ECJ’s views as to the applicability of Article 234 EC in inter–temporal situations. This section is divided in two parts – dealing with the ECJ’s jurisprudence before the enlargement in 2004 and afterwards. In conclusion, it proposes how to define the boarderline for the use of the preliminary ruling procedure in inter–temporal situations for the benefit of both EU law and the national courts of the new Member States.
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