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‘Speech acts’ and judicial conversations. Preliminary references from the Italian Constitutional Court to the Court of Justice of the European Union

Silvana Sciarra e Giuseppe Nicastro
CSF-SSSUP Working Paper No 1/2016

The first part of the paper refers briefly to the Gauweiler judgment with the intention to underline how ‘speech acts’ may acquire the status of sources. Under exceptional circumstances, such as the ones originated by the crisis, they end up shaping both institutional and academic discussions. It was, after all, a ‘speech act’ to provoke the first German preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The second part of the paper offers a brief historical picture of the complex and at times controversial conversation established between the Italian Constitutional Court and the CJEU. The first two preliminary references sent from Rome to Luxembourg suggest that it is worth comparing the attitudes of constitutional courts in search of their own style, when it comes to balancing national and EU competences. Article 11 of the Italian Constitution is brought forward as an interesting compromise, a way of balancing competences, whenever limits to sovereignty may be perceived as dangerous ones, unless a scope, common to other states, is to be reached. The Italian Constitutional Court shows awareness of its own national identity and, at the same time, seems capable to approach the CJEU in a cooperative manner.

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