Chapter 9: Four functions of the principle of primacy in the post-Lisbon case law of the European Court of Justice
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The principle of primacy resolves conflicts between European Union law and the national law of the Member States. It provides that EU law prevails over national law when the two are incompatible. This chapter sheds light on the current application of the principle of primacy by the European Court of Justice. The aim is to identify the different ways in which the principle of primacy has been used by the Court post Lisbon. The chapter argues that the principle of primacy is more than a rule of conflict of laws. It has four different functions in the post-Lisbon case law of the ECJ. The first function is the traditional one as a rule of conflict. The second function of primacy is to mark the boundaries of the applicability of national fundamental rights within the scope of EU law. The third function of primacy is to justify a particular feature of the preliminary reference procedure of Article 267 TFEU. Finally, the fourth function of primacy is that of an essential characteristic of EU law that is part of the very identity of the EU.

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