Composite Procedures and the Inevitable Sacrifice of the Rule of Law

The two recent Berlusconi and Iccrea rulings of the European Court of Justice are bound to be landmark judgments of European administrative law. The two rulings concerned composite administrative procedures in the Banking Union – i.e., administrative procedures where national and Union administrative authorities take decisions jointly, after the conclusion of procedural phases at national and Union level. What the two rulings clarified for the first time is that, whenever an EU administrative body holds the decisive decision-making power in a composite procedure, national courts are forbidden from reviewing the preparatory acts taken by national authorities. Instead, it is for the CJEU to review the entirety of the composite procedure. The problem explored in the paper is that, given that the CJEU has no jurisdiction to apply national law, there is currently no judiciary in the EU competent to review violations of national law – which represents a significant rule of law gap.