Austria and Belgium at war with the European Court of Justice – Room Change – Pound 203


Harvard European Law Association

Working Papers Series Graduate Seminar

Austria and Belgium at war with the European Court of Justice

Wednesday, November 12th, 12 – 1 p.m.


*** Refreshments will be served! ***

Feel Free to Bring Your Own Lunch

Visiting Researcher Sacha Garben from the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) will present the controversial Education judgments of the European Court and their aftermath


The European Court of Justice currently finds itself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Three years ago, the ECJ handed down two controversial judgments against Austria and Belgium, condemning the two countries for restricting access to their university system of foreign EU students. The judgments caused political outrage, especially in Austria, with high-up political figures aggressively attacking the Court. Both Belgium and Austria blatantly disregarded the ruling, which led the European Commission to prosecute them for their disobedience. However, in an exceptional way Austria used the Lisbon Treaty negotiations to wheedle a promise from the Commission that no action would be taken for a period of five years. As could be expected, the litigious students of Europe almost instantly brought a case, which is now before the ECJ. (How) will the saga end?


If you like, you can take a look at the judgments (C-65/03 and C-147/03) at

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