Part II European Law: Enforcement

8. European Actions  


1.    Enforcement Actions against Member States
2.    Actions Against the Union: Failure to Act
3.    Preliminary Rulings I: General Aspects
4.    Damages Actions: Union Liability


The European Treaties establish a dual enforcement mechanism for European Union law. Apart from decentralized enforcement by national courts, the Union legal order also envisages centralized enforcement of European law in the European Courts. The judicial competences of the European Courts are enumerated in the section of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union dealing with the Court of Justice of the European Union (Table 8.1).

Four classes of judicial actions will be discussed in this chapter. The first class is typically labelled an ‘enforcement action’ in the strict sense of the term. This action is set out in Articles 258 and 259 TFEU and concerns the failure of a Member State to act in accordance with European Law (Section 1). The three remaining actions ‘enforce’ the European Treaties against the Union itself. These actions can be brought for a failure to act (Section 2), for judicial review (Section 3), and for damages (Section 4).

Table 8.1 Judicial competences and procedures (included with permission of Oxford University Press)

*All footnotes have been omitted for this excerpt.