The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is the judicial branch of the European Union (EU) and is based in Luxembourg. The CJEU ensures that the EU organs and the member states comply with Union law. The court takes binding decisions on the interpretation of Union law and makes sure that EU law is applied uniformly in all EU member states.
CJEU legal decisions play an important part in the work of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs due to the fact that Union law affects its policies in many ways. As a result and as part of Germany's Federal Government, the ministry contributes intensively to cases involving labour market and social policies.
A great deal of the CJEU’s work consists of preliminary rulings: National courts can suspend pending cases to submit questions on the interpretation of EU law that are decisive for their decision to the CJEU. After the ruling of the CJEU, the national court is bound by the CJEU’s interpretation when continuing its own legal proceedings. Preliminary rulings thus play a major role in the interpretation and shaping of European law and its transposition into national legal systems. Each member state thus has the possibility of submitting a written observation on the questions put to the CJEU and it may also get involved in the oral proceedings. In this way, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs regularly shares its legal views in cooperation with other German ministries if cases are of special significance or have implications for German labour and social law. Infringement proceedings against Germany or actions for annulment against EU legal acts are examples of other types of cases in which the ministry gets involved as part of the German government if its policy areas are affected.
Infographic: Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)