The European Court of Justice (ECJ) does not often make the news, and yet its role in European governance is critical: its task of ensuring that the terms of the treaties are respected, understood and applied as accurately as possible has made it essential to the process of integration. As the judicial arm of the EU, it has made decisions that have expanded and clarified the reach and meaning of integration, established key principles (such as direct effect and the supremacy of EU law), and helped transform the treaties into something like a constitution for Europe. It is one of the most clearly supranational of EU institutions.
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