Revista de Drept Constitutional. 2016, 2 (1), 44-64
The current article provides a critical overview of the CJEU’s role as the main ‘architect’ of the relationship between the EU legal order and the international legal order. The activities of the CJEU are assessed in light of four parameters: the protection of fundamental rights, the protection of the internal division of competences within the EU, issues of primacy and review of legality when international agreements are present, and the relationship between the CJEU and other international tribunals. It is argued that the CJEU in the last decade is increasingly acting in a fashion similar to federal constitutional courts that seek to protect the ‘federal’ level legal order from the intrusions of the international legal order and those of the sub-federal level. In its quest to protect the autonomy of the EU legal order and its own exclusive jurisdiction in a multilevel, pluralistic legal system, the CJEU might have caused more harm than good, affecting legal certainty, and the dialogue between it and the international legal order or international tribunals.