The European Citizens’ Initiative in Light of the European Debt Crisis: A Gateway Between International Law and the EU Legal System

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Table of Contents: I. Sovereign default: the same old story. – II. The European debt crisis: a first timid step towards a possible solution. – III. The European Citizens’ Initiatives: an introductory overview. – IV. The Anagnostakis case. – V. Final remarks.

Abstract: This Article first briefly examines the attempt made by both Member States and EU institutions to administer financial assistance to countries experiencing economic difficulties. The analysis will consider the legal and other experience of the “state rescue funds”: notably the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). The Article especially analyses the Pringle judgment (Court of Justice, judgment of 27 November 2012, case C-370/12) offering an essential conceptual toolbox, useful to develop a better understanding of the Court of Justice’s current interpretation of the “no bail-out clause” (Art. 125 TFEU), and more generally an overview of the Court’s doctrine on sovereign insolvency. Following this line of research, the second part focuses on the judgment of the General Court of the European Union in the case Anagnostakis v. Commission (judgment of 30 September 2015, case T-450/12). Mr Alexios Anagnostakis − a Greek citizen − proposed the initiative “One million signatures for a Europe of solidarity” to the European Commission. The initiative sought “to establish in EU fundamental law the principle of the “state of necessity”; when the financial and the political existence of a State is in danger because of the serving of the abhorrent debt the refusal of its payment is necessary and justifiable”. In September 2012 the European Commission, pursuant to Art. 4, para. 2, let. b), of Regulation 211/2011, refused to register the proposal, based on a lack of competence. Mr Anagnostakis then brought an action of annulment before the General Court. Considering the Anagnostakis case, the Article finally suggests a new role for the EU judges, strictly connected to the right of initiative and the sovereign default issue.

Keywords: sovereign insolvency – ESM – PringleAnagnostakis – ECI – state of necessity.

European Papers, Vol. 3, 2018, No 3, pp. 1159-1178
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/265

* Ph.D. in Comparative Law, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice,


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