JUDGEMENT ABOUT THE PRINCIPLE OF THE INVIOLABILITY OF THE ARCHIVES OF THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

Authors

  • Zoltán Angyal

Keywords:

European Central Bank, Court of Justice of the European Union, judgment

Abstract

In a judgment of December 2020 the Court of Justice of the European Union decided that by unilaterally seizing documents that are part of the archives of the European Central Bank (ECB), Slovenia failed to fulfil its obligation to respect the principle of the inviolability of the archives of the Union. Furthermore, by failing to cooperate properly with the ECB to eliminate the unlawful consequences of that infringement, Slovenia also failed to fulfil its obligation of sincere cooperation with regard to the European Union. It was the first case in which the Court had to interpret this issue. In its judgment, the Court, sitting as the Grand Chamber, upholds the Commission’s action and declares that the infringements alleged took place in their entirety. This case has given the Court the opportunity to state the conditions applicable to the protection of the archives of the Union with regard to a unilateral seizure of documents forming part of those archives made by the authorities of a Member State in places other than the buildings and premises of the European Union and, in particular, the conditions under which a finding of infringement of the principle of the inviolability of the archives of the ECB may be made. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the background to the proceedings, the main legal arguments of the parties and the reasons for the Court's decision.

Published

2021-04-01