The Constitutional Court’s delegation participates in an international conference focusing on the European values

From 7 to 8 March, the President of the Constitutional Court Ineta Ziemele, the Vice-president of the Constitutional Court Sanita Osipova and the Justice of the Constitutional Court Artūrs Kučs attended the international conference in Budapest, Hungary, organised by the Constitutional Court of Hungary. The participants of the conference discussed the identity of the European Union (hereinafter – the EU) and the constitutional identities of the Member States, the value, diversity and unity thereof (Constitutional EUdentity 2019. Unity in diversity – common and particular values).

Inete Ziemele gave a presentation at the conference, focusing on the issue of whether the constitutional courts could delimit the European identity (Can Constitutional Courts delimit European identity?).

The conference was opened by the President of Hungary János Áder; the participants were addressed also by the Minister for Justice of Hungary László Trócsány and the President of the Constitutional Court of Hungary Tamás Sulyok. Koen Lenaert, the President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, also spoke at the conference, discussing the uniting identity of the EU as a factor facilitating the national identity. Andreas Voßkuhle, the President of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, in turn, presented his view on the EU value orientation in contemporary society.

Conference organized by the Hungarian Constitutional Court. Photo: Archives of the Constitutional Court of Latvia.

In her presentation, Ineta Ziemele focused on essential issues that pertain to the interaction between the constitutional courts of the EU Member States for the purpose of consolidating shared values. She admitted that “conflicts” between the European courts and the constitutional courts occured less frequently than it might initially seem. However, these could be avoided if the European courts and the constitutional court would become more aware of their functioning within a united European legal space in the name of common aims and values.

The President of the Constitutional Court drew attention to the fact that cooperation between the aforementioned courts could be compared to a two-way street, where none of the parties dominated over the other since with respect to different legal issues the one or the other party could take the dominant role. Ineta Ziemele underscored that the interaction between the national courts and the European court would be more successful if each party, if necessary, would be ready to make concessions to the other. In such a case, the national courts would be willing to cooperate rather than feel forced to do so.

Amongst other things, on Thursday, 7 March, the Justices also visited the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia in Hungary, where they met the Ambassador of Latvia to Hungary Vilmārs Heniņš and the deputy-head of the representation Gints Serafinovičs. During the meeting, the bilateral cooperation between Latvia and Hungary, as well as matters linked to the implementation of the principle of rule of law in Hungary and the European Union were discussed.

Ineta Ziemele’s presentation in English is available here: 

Fro Left: President of the Constitutional Court Ineta Ziemele, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court Sanita Osipova and Judge of the Constitutional Court Artūrs Kucs. Photo: Archives of the Constitutional Court of Latvia.