The Recent Case Law on Locus Standi of Private Applicants under Art. 230 (4) EC: A Missed Opportunity or A Velvet Revolution?
SourceEuropean Integration online Papers
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The theme of the article is the ECJ's approach to the standing of private applicants in actions of annulment. The analysis places the emphasis on the Opinions by AG Jacobs and the rulings of the CFI and the ECJ in UPA and JégoQuérè and on the limited changes proposed under the Draft Constitution. The argument of the paper is that the critique presenting the preceding line of decisions as a missed opportunity is partly unfounded and partly misplaced for two main reasons. Firstly, the nature of the debate has now changed with the introduction of the right to effective judicial protection and secondly, the existing critique is not reflective of the multidimensional and complex nature of interacting factors that influence the strategic positioning of the ECJ in areas of specific constitutional significance. Therefore, the analysis concentrates on the factors that could provide the exegetical and not necessarily the justifying rationale for the persistently restrictive approach of the ECJ in the area of standing. It is submitted that the recent case law is an integral part of the calculated strategic positioning of the ECJ that was inevitable. The inevitability is founded on three reasons. Firstly, on the nature and significance of effective judicial protection and the central role that it was given by AG Jacobs and the CFI in UPA and Jégo-Quérè respectively. Secondly, the departure from the jurisprudence was driven from below rather than from the ECJ and finally, the chronology was such that coincided with the workings of the Convention on the Future of Europe. These new elements represent an attempted Velvet Revolution rather than a missed opportunity.