References to Decisions of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights within the Jurisprudence of the German Federal Constitutional Court.

The German FCC is well-known for its frequent use of self-references. Though FCC precedents have no legally binding effect in general, its decisions have a binding effect erga omnes and hence have an enormous significance for national legal practice, including the application of European law in Germany. In view of the FCC’s integration into the entire network of European constitutional courts, its relationship to two other European courts – the ECJ and the ECtHR – remains particularly important. This contribution will focus on how the FCC deals with the case law of the aforesaid courts. How does the referencing of European decisions differ from that of self-references? What is its primary role or function in the FCC’s reasoning? Secondly, what is the constitutional relevance of ECJ and ECtHR precedents? Do they carry the same weight as the FCC’s own decisions? Finally, what can all of the above tell us about the current state of the judicial dialogue and cooperation in Europe?