CJEU - C-370/12 / Judgment

Thomas Pringle v Government of Ireland and Others
Policy area
Economic and monetary affairs
Deciding body type
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding body
Court (Full Court)
Decision date
ECLI (European case law identifier)
  • CJEU - C-370/12 / Judgment

    Key facts of the case:

    Reference for a preliminary ruling from the Supreme Court.

    Stability mechanism for the Member States whose currency is the euro – Decision 2011/199/EU – Amendment of Article 136 TFEU – Validity – Article 48(6) TEU – Simplified revision procedure – ESM Treaty – Economic and monetary policy – Competence of the Member States.

    Outcome of the case:

    On those grounds, the Court (Full Court) hereby rules:

    1. Examination of the first question referred has disclosed nothing capable of affecting the validity of European Council Decision 2011/199/EU of 25 March 2011 amending Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with regard to a stability mechanism for Member States whose currency is the euro.
    2. Articles 4(3) TEU and 13 TEU, Articles 2(3) TFEU, 3(1)(c) and (2) TFEU, 119 TFEU to 123 TFEU and 125 TFEU to 127 TFEU, and the general principle of effective judicial protection do not preclude the conclusion between the Member States whose currency is the euro of an agreement such as the Treaty establishing the European stability mechanism between the Kingdom of Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Estonia, Ireland, the Hellenic Republic, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, the Italian Republic, the Republic of Cyprus, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Malta, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Austria, the Portuguese Republic, the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovak Republic and the Republic of Finland, concluded at Brussels on 2 February 2012, or the ratification of that treaty by those Member States.
    3. The right of a Member State to conclude and ratify that Treaty is not subject to the entry into force of Decision 2011/199.
  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter

    28) In those circumstances the Supreme Court decided to stay proceedings and to refer to the Court the following questions for a preliminary ruling:

    ‘(1) Is … Decision 2011/199… valid:

    — having regard to the use of the simplified revision procedure pursuant to Article 48(6) TEU and, in particular, whether the proposed amendment to Article 136 TFEU involved an increase in the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties?

    — having regard to the content of the proposed amendment, in particular whether it involves any violation of the Treaties or of the general principles of law of the Union?

    (2) Is a Member State of the European Union whose currency is the euro, having regard to

    — Articles 2 and 3 TEU and the provisions of Part Three, Title VIII, TFEU, and in particular Articles 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125, 126, and 127 TFEU;

    — the exclusive competence of the Union in monetary policy as set out in Article 3(1)(c) TFEU and in concluding international agreements falling within the scope of Article 3(2) TFEU;

    — the competence of the Union in coordinating economic policy, in accordance with Article 2(3) TFEU and Part Three, Title VIII, TFEU;

    — the powers and functions of Union institutions pursuant to principles set out in Article 13 TEU;

    — the principle of sincere cooperation laid down in Article 4(3) TEU;

    — the general principles of Union law including in particular the general principle of effective judicial protection and the right to an effective remedy as provided under Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union [‘the Charter’] and the general principle of legal certainty,

    — entitled to enter into and ratify an international agreement such as the ESM Treaty?

    (3) If … Decision [2011/199] is held valid, is the entitlement of a Member State to enter into and ratify an international agreement such as the ESM Treaty subject to the entry into force of that Decision?


    178) The national court observes, referring to an argument put forward by the applicant in the main proceedings, that the establishment of the ESM outside the European Union legal order may have the consequence that the ESM is removed from the scope of the Charter. The referring court seeks to ascertain whether the establishment of the ESM is thereby in breach of Article 47 of the Charter which guarantees that everyone has the right to effective judicial protection.

    179) In that regard, it must be observed that, under Article 51(1) of the Charter, its provisions are addressed to the Member States only when they are implementing Union law. Under Article 51(2), the Charter does not extend the field of application of Union law beyond the powers of the Union, or establish any new power or task for the Union or modify powers and tasks as defined in the Treaties. Accordingly, the Court is called upon to interpret, in the light of the Charter, the law of the European Union within the limits of the powers conferred on it (see Case C‑400/10 PPU McB. [2010] ECR I‑8965, paragraph 51, and Case C‑256/11 Dereci and Others [2011] ECR I‑11315, paragraph 71).

    180) It must be observed that the Member States are not implementing Union law, within the meaning of Article 51(1) of the Charter, when they establish a stability mechanism such as the ESM where, as is clear from paragraph 105 of this judgment, the EU and FEU Treaties do not confer any specific competence on the Union to establish such a mechanism.