© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015Siniša Rodin and Tamara Perišin (eds.)Judicial Application of International Law in Southeast Europe10.1007/978-3-662-46384-0_8
Judicial Application of International and EU Law in Croatia
Court of Justice of the European Union, Kirchberg, Luxembourg
University of Zagreb Law School, Zagreb, Croatia
The opinions expressed in this work are those of the author and do not represent the views of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
After years of development, various instruments of international and EU law have built strong guarantees for the protection of individual rights, ranging from fundamental human rights to fundamental market freedoms. However, the best law can at the same time be the worst if it is not applied in practice. Therefore, the aim of this chapter is to look at how international and EU law are actually applied in the European Union’s newest Member State, the Republic of Croatia.
This chapter follows the structure of other national reports. It first analyses the constitutional framework for the application of international law in the Republic of Croatia. It then looks into the case law of the Constitutional Court on the review of conformity of national laws with international treaties, as well as on the review of constitutionality of international treaties. Subsequently, the focus of the research shifts towards the cases in which Croatian courts have applied and cited international law. Since most of those cases consider the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, a special part of the text will deal with the Convention.
The Constitutional status and the application of EU law is analysed separately from international law, due to its specific nature and the important role it has in the Croatian legal system. The authors attempt to identify some of the main challenges judges might face when applying EU law.
The last part of this chapter is dedicated to the organisation of the judicial system in Croatia and to the education of legal practitioners in areas of EU and international law. Since Croatia has only recently joined the European Union, special attention is paid to workshops and training organised for judges which should serve as a catalyst for the application of EU law.
2 Constitutional Status of International Law in the Republic of Croatia
2.1 International Treaties
The constitutional status of international law in the legal order of the Republic of Croatia is defined, on one hand, by constitutional provisions and other relevant legislation1 and, on the other, by the case law of the Constitutional Court.2
The most important legal source for determining the constitutional status of international law in Croatia is Article 141 of the Constitution3 which stipulates that:
International treaties which were signed and ratified in accordance with the Constitution, made public and are in force, are part of the internal legal order of the Republic of Croatia and are above law in terms of legal effects. Their provisions may be changed or repealed only under the conditions and in the way specified by the international treaties themselves, or in accordance with the general rules of international law.
It follows that international treaties in force in the Republic of Croatia enjoy, from a formal perspective, a supra-legislative status, but in relation to the national Constitution they retain a sub-constitutional status.4
Furthermore, Article 118(3) of the Constitution specifies that ‘the Courts shall administer justice according to the Constitution, laws, international agreements and other valid sources of law’. Before the 2010 Constitutional changes, the aforementioned article used to read ‘The courts shall administer justice on the basis of the Constitution and laws’.5 The 2010 Constitutional changes have made it clear that on the basis of this constitutional provision, Croatian courts are obliged to apply the relevant rules of international treaties, just as they are obliged to apply Croatian internal rules. The same obligation is also contained in Article 5 of the Courts Act, which, by mimicking the wording of Article 118(3) of the Constitution, prescribes that ‘the courts shall administer justice on the basis of the Constitution, laws, international treaties and other valid sources of law’. However, the wording of Article 5 of the Courts Act used to be a bit more generous when it comes to the application of international law and used to read: ‘The courts shall administer justice on the basis of international treaties which are a part of the legal order of the Republic of Croatia’ and ‘The courts shall apply other rules which have been enacted in accordance with the Constitution, international treaty or a law of the Republic of Croatia’. In other words, the 2005 version of the Courts Act expressly obliged Croatian courts to apply international agreements as well as legal rules which have been enacted in accordance with them. The current wording of the Courts Act of 2013, identical to the wording of Article 118(3) of the Constitution, could mislead the reader into concluding that in the hierarchy of legal rules Croatian laws have primacy over international treaties which are in force in the Republic of Croatia. Such a conclusion is expressly dismantled by Article 141 of the Constitution, which prescribes that signed, ratified and published international treaties which are in force are above laws in terms of legal effects.
From its wording, it can be concluded that the Croatian Constitution adopts a monist concept of the relationship between Croatian internal law and international law,6 that Article 141 of the Constitution creates a hierarchy of legal rules which the courts are obliged to respect,7 and that national courts should directly apply ratified and published international treaties which are in force. In other words, such international treaties—as part of the internal legal order—may create individual rights that the courts are obliged to protect.8 Therefore, after their ratification and publication, self-executing international treaties may be directly applied in Croatia. As pointed out by Omejec, this conclusion is corroborated by the fact that the Act on the Conclusion and Implementation of International Agreements requires no regulatory action in order for a ratified and published international agreement to be directly applicable.9
As mentioned above, the legal status of international treaties in the Republic of Croatia is also defined by the Constitutional Court’s case law. For the purpose of clarifying the legal status of international treaties in the Republic of Croatia, the Constitutional Court’s case law may be grouped in four types of cases: firstly, cases where the international treaties were used as benchmarks for monitoring national laws in the abstract-review procedures; secondly, constitutional complaint procedures in which international treaties were applied as a standard of review; thirdly, cases regarding the review of constitutionality of international treaties; and, fourthly, cases regarding the review of constitutionality of national laws ratifying international treaties.
2.1.1 Cases Where International Treaties Were Applied in the Abstract-Review Procedures of National Laws
The Constitutional Court has developed the practice of using international treaties as benchmarks for monitoring domestic law, recognising in this way the de facto quasi-constitutional status of international treaties, as pointed out by Omejec.10
A milestone decision for the recognition of the quasi-constitutional status of international treaties in the Croatian legal system was the Constitutional Court’s decision in Case U-I-745/1999, which concerned an abstract review of the compatibility of the Croatian Expropriation Act with the Constitution.11 In this decision, the Constitutional Court for the first time explicitly adopted the view that any non-compliance of national legislation with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter: ECHR) represented the non-compliance of national laws with the principle of the rule of law laid down in Article 312 of the Constitution, the principles of constitutionality and legality enshrined in Article 5 of the Constitution, and the principle of legal monism of national and international law stipulated in Article 141 of the Constitution. Consequently, the Constitutional Court abolished parts of the Expropriation Act while exercising its power of abstract constitutional review.
As stated above, the Constitutional Court applied the reasoning that since parts of the Act were contrary to the ECHR, they were at the same time contrary to the Constitution. However, in order to reach this decision, the Constitutional Court first had to establish its jurisdiction to review the compatibility of national law with an international treaty, since the Constitution itself does not explicitly empower the Constitutional Court to do so. The Constitutional Court took Article 129 of the Constitution as the basis for establishing its jurisdiction. It prescribes that the Constitutional Court ‘decides upon the conformity of laws with the Constitution’ and ‘upon the conformity of other regulations with the Constitution and laws’. In paragraph 7 of its decision, the Constitutional Court stated that Article 129, together with Article 5 of the Constitution which requires that ‘all laws must be in conformity with the Constitution, and all other regulations in conformity with the Constitution and laws’, entitle and oblige the Constitutional Court to supervise the conformity of legal norms of different legal force within the Croatian legal order. Since the hierarchy of legal norms in Croatia consists of the Constitution, ratified and published international treaties, laws and other regulations, the Constitutional Court concluded that it is entitled to review the compatibility of laws with superior legal norms, that is, international treaties. The Constitutional Court considered this conclusion as the only logical consequence of Article 141 of the Constitution, which prescribes that ratified and published international treaties which are in force are above laws in terms of legal effects.13 This view has been confirmed by the subsequent case law of the Constitutional Court, most recently in case U-III-3304/2011.
2.1.2 Constitutional Complaint Procedures in Which International Treaties Were Applied as a Standard of Review
Another set of cases decided by the Constitutional Court which are worth mentioning in the context of the constitutional status of international law in the Croatian legal system are those involving a violation of an individual’s constitutional right by a court’s judgment delivered in breach of international commitments.
The same approach described above, adopted in the procedure of the abstract review of the constitutionality of national laws, was applied in cases brought before the Constitutional Court through the constitutional complaints of individuals. Thus, the Constitutional Court applied international treaties as a standard of review in the constitutional complaint procedure.14
In its case law, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia has held on several occasions that human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, may be violated in the case where the adjudicating court in its judgment does not comply with the international obligations which the Republic of Croatia assumed through the ratification of an international treaty. For example, in its decision U-III-1801/2006 of 20 May 2009, the Constitutional Court quashed the judgments of competent national courts on the grounds that they had violated the provisions of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Constitutional Court ruled that the courts, by having denied the applicant the right she enjoyed on the basis of the Hague Convention, had violated their constitutional obligation to protect that individual right. It established that the lower-instance judgments had violated the right of access to courts under Article 29 of the Constitution, as well as Article 35, and Article 62, which offers special protection to maternity and children, and at the same time interpreted Article 62 very broadly, so that it also encompasses the rights under the Hague Convention. When establishing whether Article 35 of the Constitution regarding the right to family life had been breached, the Constitutional Court followed the case law of the ECtHR which states that the Hague Convention must be taken into account when determining whether Article 8 of the ECHR has been breached. In other words, the Constitutional Court considers a breach of an international treaty which is in force in the Republic of Croatia at the same time as a breach of the Constitution.
Similarly, in its decision U-III-4182/2008 of 17 March 2009, the Constitutional quashed the judgments of the competent national courts on the grounds that they had violated the provisions of the Constitution and the ECHR.
2.1.3 Cases Regarding the Review of Constitutionality of International Treaties
Another important element for clarifying the legal status of international treaties in the Republic of Croatia is the case law of the Constitutional Court regarding the question of review of international treaties as to their compatibility with the Croatian Constitution. It should first be noted that the Croatian legal system does not contain prior review of the constitutionality of international treaties. Furthermore, the Croatian Constitution and the Constitutional Act on the Constitutional Court do not contain any explicit provisions regarding the possibility of ex post judicial review of international treaties as to their constitutionality. Although there have been several theoretical possibilities that could have justified the constitutional review of international treaties,15 the Constitutional Court has held on various occasions that it was not competent to assess the compliance of international treaties with the Constitution. In its decision U-I-825/2001,16 the Constitutional Court rejected the proposal to institute proceedings to review the constitutionality of several Treaties between the Republic of Croatia and the Holy See. Shortly afterwards, it confirmed the same reasoning in decision U-I-672/2001 of 25 February 2004 and rejected the proposal to institute proceedings to review the constitutionality of the Agreement on Social Security between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (concluded on 4 October 2000). In both decisions, the Constitutional Court used identical wording and held that ‘the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia is not competent to assess the compliance of international treaties with the Constitution’. The only explanation given by the Constitutional Court was that Article 129 of the Constitution, which lists the powers of the Constitutional Court, does not expressly give it such authority. The same view was confirmed in a number of subsequent decisions (e.g. U-I-350/2004 of 17 June 2009, U-I-4043/2003 of 7 July 2009 and U-I-3246/2004 of 22 December 2009).
As we have previously seen, the Constitutional Court did not stop at the mere wording of the Constitution when establishing its jurisdiction to decide on the conformity of national laws with ratified agreements which are in force in the Republic of Croatia. It is therefore a pity that the Constitutional Court did not elaborate its conclusion of this vital constitutional issue. By giving well-supported arguments for its decisions, the Constitutional Court should set an example to all courts in the judicial structure to do the same, and thereby contribute to legal certainty and the legitimacy of judicial decisions.17 The problem of the judicial review of the constitutionality of international treaties which have already been signed and ratified lies in their very nature as instruments of international law. As stated in Article 141 of the Constitution, ‘their provisions may be changed or repealed only under the conditions and in the way specified by the international treaties themselves, or in accordance with the general rules of international law’. It can be concluded, therefore, that neither the Croatian Constitution nor the case law of the Croatian Constitutional Court allows a review of the constitutionality of international treaties.
2.1.4 Cases Regarding the Review of Constitutionality of National Laws Ratifying International Treaties
In its case law, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia has also addressed the problem of the review of constitutionality of national laws ratifying international treaties. The Constitutional Court held that it had jurisdiction to review the constitutionality of Croatian laws which ratify international treaties only from the formal aspect (i.e. the assessment of whether a law was passed by the competent authority and following the procedure prescribed by the Constitution) and that it was not competent to assess the compliance of domestic laws ratifying treaties with the Constitution from a substantive aspect.18 In its Decision U-I-1583/2000 and U-I-559/2001 of 24 March 2010, the Constitutional Court held in paragraph 6 that:
From the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court established in Article 129 of the Constitution and the conditions under which international agreements can be amended or repealed, laid down in Article 141 of the Constitution, it stems that the Constitutional Court, in reviewing the constitutionality of a law, has the competence to review the constitutionality of a law on ratification of an international treaty, but not the constitutionality of international treaties themselves. In other words, in relation to the laws on ratification of international treaties, the competence of the Constitutional Court is limited, because it does not include the review of the constitutionality of the substantive content of an international treaty, which is an integral part of the law. This is so because, according to Article 141 of the Constitution, the provisions of the ratified and published international treaties may be amended or repealed only under conditions and in the manner specified in themselves, or in accordance with the general rules of international law.
The Constitutional Court therefore declined its jurisdiction to rule on the matter. For the same reasons, in its decision U-I-64462/2009 of 7 July 2010, the Constitutional Court rejected the proposal to institute proceedings to review the constitutionality of the Act on the Ratification of the Arbitration Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, while in decision U-I-2057/2009 of 30 March 2011, the Constitutional Court rejected a proposal to institute proceedings to review the constitutionality of the Act on the Ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty.
2.1.5 Short Conclusion
Summarising the presented case law, we can conclude that the Constitutional Court checks the respect of international treaties, both in the procedure of the abstract review of conformity of national laws with international treaties, and in cases brought before it by constitutional complaints against final decisions in individual cases, but that it declines competence to review the compatibility of international treaties with the Constitution. Certain academics have therefore suggested that prior review of the constitutionality of international treaties should be added to the Croatian legal system, in order to improve it.19 Under the current solution, responsibility to check the conformity of an international treaty with the Croatian Constitution lies with the executive branch, which negotiates it, and primarily with the legislative branch, which ratifies it.
2.2 Customary International Law
There are no constitutional provisions on the application of customary international law in the Croatian legal order, and the Constitutional Court has not yet ruled on the issue. Accordingly, it may be concluded that the Croatian Constitution tacite distinguishes international treaties and other sources of international law, granting supra-legislative legal force only to international treaties which have been explicitly accepted. This view has been endorsed by a number of Croatian academics.20 On the other hand, some authors consider that, even though the Constitution does not expressly provide for the application of customary international law, it can be concluded from the Constitution as a whole that the Constitution intended to allow its application.21 However, Omejec points out that the fact that customary international law is applicable in Croatia does not mean that it enjoys the same supremacy over national law as ratified and published international treaties do under Article 141 of the Constitution.22
3 Application of International Law
Generally speaking, international law is relatively seldom applied by Croatian courts. This conclusion has been reached by means of search engines on the case-law databases of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, the SupraNova database and the IUS INFO private case-law database. As will be explained in the chapter on the availability of national case law, this conclusion can be overturned by the fact that there are certain flaws in the search engines of the databases and that the case law of lower courts is hardly accessible. However, the performed research of the most representative databases can be considered a good indication of what is happening in the system, and this indication has been confirmed in informal conversations by the authors with the judges of various court instances.
3.1 European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR)
By far the most often applied source of international law is the ECHR. However, since the application of the ECHR is not the focus of this chapter and since there is already an abundance of literature on the subject,23 the authors will just point out the main characteristics of its application. The Republic of Croatia became a party to the Convention in 1997.24 So far, there have been several Constitutional and legislative changes due to the Convention.25 According to the information from the HUDOC database, by February 2014 a total of 325 cases against Croatia had been decided on the merits before the ECtHR, of which a violation of the Convention was found in 269 cases.26 On the other hand, as pointed out by Omejec, the case law of the Croatian courts is far less voluminous and the Convention is not sufficiently applied.27 So far, most of the ECHR related case law comes from the Constitutional Court,28 which can be explained by an overlap of the Constitutional protection of fundamental rights with that guaranteed by the Convention. Furthermore, the vast majority of cases concern the right to trial within a reasonable time, protected by Article 6 of the Convention. In a smaller number of cases a breach of the Convention was found, including breaches of Article 6 (Decision U-III-3304/2011), Article 5(1) (Decisions U-III-3797/2008, U-III-4286/2007), etc.
In 2011, Rodin characterised the Constitutional Court as a ‘sophisticated interpreter of fundamental rights and a national leader in the application of the ECHR’, but also expressed concerns that its reactions were of a ‘troubleshooting nature and not systematic, and that, substantively, [they] did not genuinely contribute to the strengthening of fundamental rights guarantees’.29 These concerns were based on the Constitutional Court’s application of the principles of proportionality (Decision U-III-4584/2005), indirect indiscrimination (Decision U-III-3138/2002) and the selective reading of the ECtHR’s case law (for example, Decision U-III-41640/2009). While the case law of the ECtHR or the ECHR itself are often quoted, at least by the Constitutional (for example, Decision U-III-1067/2009) and the Supreme Court (Kž 37/2009-6), its direct application is much less frequent.
3.2 Other Sources of International Law
Regarding the application of other sources of international law in Croatia, one of the good and very rare examples of the direct application of an international treaty can be found in the Constitutional Court’s Decision U-III-1337/2008. The case concerned the registration of a subsidiary of a foreign law office, for the provision of consulting services regarding the national law of the foreign service provider and foreign and international law. The Croatian Bar Association complained against the approval of the registration and claimed before the Constitutional Court that Articles 1430 and 2731 of the Constitution had been breached. The Constitutional Court ruled that:
The basis for the registration of the subsidiary of a foreign law firm in question is not a Croatian law, but the Marrakesh Agreement32 as an international agreement with all the consequences which this fact produces in the internal legal order. Therefore, in the case at hand, no special approval or permit is required for the registration of the subsidiary because the basis for the registration is an international agreement which explicitly states that a foreign founder can found a subsidiary for the provision of certain services on the territory of the Republic of Croatia.
The constitutional complaint of the Bar Association was therefore rejected.
Other cases on the application of international treaties include the United Nations Convention on the International Sales of Goods33 applied directly in several judgments of the High Commercial Court (Pž-5827/06, Pž-907/06, Pž-5580/03), the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) Convention, applied in the High Commercial Court’s rulings Pž-2573/07, Pž-7956/04-3, Pž-5446/04-3, and the Supreme Court’s ruling Rev 1631/89 concerning the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. The High Commercial Court also applied the Hague Convention on Civil Procedure34 in case Pž-1219/07-3.
On several occasions, such as in the Constitutional Court’s Decision U-III-388/2012, arguments based on international law seem to be raised by the Court itself. In paragraph 5 of this Decision, the Constitutional Court raised the issue of whether the Convention on the Rights of the Child35 had been breached, but did not engage in a thorough analysis and did not base its decision on this Convention. In the same decision, the case law of the ECtHR was also analysed in a similar manner.
The case law of foreign courts is occasionally cited, but mostly by the Constitutional Court. For example, in Decision U-I-295/2006 and U-I-4526/2007 which concerned the constitutionality of the Public Assembly Act, the case law of the constitutional courts of some members of the Council of Europe was listed, albeit in an annex to the Decision. It was stated in the annex that the legislation and case law of other members of the Council of Europe are taken into account when the level of consensus among its member states has to be determined, because the agreed ‘common grounds’ between the member states can limit the legislator when regulating certain areas. In the Decision itself, the Constitutional Court only determined in paragraph 22 that so far ‘common ground’ between the member states had not been reached regarding the issue at hand. The same Decision also extensively listed the case law of the ECtHR and the Convention itself, along with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Another example of quoting judgments of foreign jurisdictions can be found in the Constitutional Court’s Decision U-III-3304/2011, which concerned a failure of Croatian courts to execute a judgment of the ECtHR, where a decision of the German Budesverfassungsgericht was quoted. From the above-mentioned decisions of the Constitutional Court, it can be seen that foreign case law is quoted in order to increase the legitimacy of the decision, but without an explanation of to what extent the decision was influenced by the practice of the foreign courts.
4 EU Law
The Republic of Croatia became a Member State of the European Union on 1 July 2013. The process of harmonisation of the Croatian legal order with the acquis communautaire began with the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement in 2003, which entered into force on 1 February 2005. Article 69 of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement played an important role as a general basis for harmonisation: ‘Croatia shall endeavour to ensure that its existing laws and future legislation will be gradually made compatible with the Community acquis.’ A relatively small but important body of case law was developed in relation to the Agreement, mainly by the Constitutional and Supreme Courts. Since this practice of Croatian courts will be analysed in a separate chapter dealing with the application of the stabilisation and association agreements, it will not be a part of the present analysis.
4.1 Constitutional Changes in Relation to EU Law
The accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union brought changes throughout the Croatian legal system. The 2010 Constitutional changes introduced a separate chapter on the EU into the Constitution, which formed the legal basis for Croatia’s membership in the Union.36 The status of the European Union law is described in Article 145 of the 2010 consolidated text37:
(1) Realisation of rights stemming from the acquis communautaire shall be deemed equal to the realisation of rights guaranteed under the Croatian legal order.
(2) Legal acts and decisions accepted by the Republic of Croatia in the institutions of the European Union shall apply in the Republic of Croatia in accordance with the acquis communautaire.
(3) Croatian courts shall protect individual rights based on the acquis communautaire.
(4) State bodies, bodies of local and regional self-government and legal persons vested with public authorities shall apply the acquis communautaire directly.
As can be seen from the text of Article 145, the Croatian Constitution does not explicitly address the principle of primacy of EU law, as established by the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Costa v. ENEL.38 However, Article 145 should not be read in a strictly technical way. Since Croatia willingly joined the Union’s legal order, it also willingly undertook the obligation to play by its rules. Consequently, Article 145(2) should not be read in a way which would exclude the application of legal acts and decisions which have been adopted in the EU institutions, but without the explicit consent of the Republic of Croatia (for example, by being outvoted in the Council). Furthermore, certain EU institutions, such as the Commission and the Court of Justice, are not even foreseen to represent national interests, so, strictly speaking, Croatia as a Member State cannot even express its approval of the acts which are adopted within them. However, since Croatia is a party to the Treaty of Lisbon and forms part of the European integration process, any systematic non-application of EU institutions’ decisions, such as the judgments of the Court of Justice of the EU, would be in severe breach of the bona fide fulfilment of its obligations as a Member State. In other words, membership in the Union is inseparable from the application of the entire acquis. This acquis is, by its very nature, to be applied in line with the principles of direct and interpretative effect and primacy over national law, which have been developed by the case law of the Court of Justice. Precisely because of the principle of supremacy of EU law, its status does not depend on the provisions of national law. Even though Article 145(2) of the Constitution should be read to include the application of the principles of the supremacy of EU law and direct effect, as of 1 July 2013 those principles would still apply in the Croatian legal order, regardless of whether such application is foreseen by the Croatian Constitution. The same view has been expressed by Rodin, who considers Article 145 to be ‘a constitutional declaration of the legal principles on which the law of the EU is founded’.39 In conclusion, despite the fact that the principle of the supremacy of EU law is not mentioned in the Constitution, that principle nevertheless applies in the Croatian legal order.40
Article 145 makes it clear that Croatian courts are obliged to protect individual rights based on EU law. As explained above, those rights must be protected in line with the acquis, meaning that the Croatian courts must apply the standards developed by EU law, and especially by the case law of the Court of Justice, when protecting them. In other words, Croatian courts are obliged to make every effort to secure efficient protection of individual rights based on EU law, and, if necessary, to apply EU law directly, or interpret national law in line with EU law.
As of September 2014, a search of the Constitutional Court’s database reveals no case law regarding Article 145 of the Constitution.
4.2 Application of EU Law by Croatian Courts
Generally speaking, after 1 year of EU membership, Croatian courts have started applying EU law, but mainly, or even exclusively, by applying Croatian legislation which has been harmonised with EU law. This approach can produce satisfactory results only if a national law encompasses all the standards for the correct application of EU law (which can hardly be the case), and as long as those standards of EU law do not change.