Meroni Behind the Scenes: Uncovering the Actors and Context of a Landmark Judgment

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. Meroni and the evolution of EU law. – II.1. Overview of the case. – II.2. The long and contested life of Meroni in EU law. – III. Actors and institutions behind the Meroni judgment. – III.1. Meroni: shedding light on the context and on the economic rationale. – III.2. The High Authority: the dynamic nature of the case. – III.3. The Court: an innovative judgment of a conservative Court? – IV. Concluding remarks.

Abstract: Meroni is one of the most controversial cases in EU jurisprudence, one bearing profound consequences for the evolution of the EU legal and institutional system. For over sixty years the 1958 judgement has set the conditions for power delegation in the EU. It also first formulated the well-known principle of institutional balance. It remains very topical still today, as shown by the recent ESMA case, which raised again the issue of power delegation to external agencies. This Article looks behind Meroni’s scenes, by analysing the recently released CJEU dossier de procédure. Through a “law in context” analysis, it provides innovative insights into the economic and social background of the dispute. It investigates the parties’ submissions and their arguments, showing how actors and institutions shaped the Court’s reasoning. Ultimately, the Article unveils the dynamic nature of the case, arguing that far from being a necessary outcome, the Court’s judgment was crafted step by step upon the arguments of the parties, in an unexpected legal build-up leading from judicial protection, to power-delegation up to the principle of institutional balance.

Keywords: Meroni – power delegation – principle of institutional balance – judicial protection – Court of Justice of the European Union – legal history.

European Papers, Vol. 6, 2021, No 1, pp. 539-551
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/483

* Research Associate, European University Institute,


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