Trägt die (begrenzte) Völkerrechtsfreundlichkeit als Verfassungsprinzip zum Ausgleich zwischen internationaler Zusammenarbeit und nationaler Souveränität bei?
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It has long been recognized in Germany that the German Constitution encompasses the principle of friendliness and openness towards international law (Grundsatz der Völkerrechtsfreundlichkeit des Grundgesetzes). This principle is expected to encourage to contribute to the commitment of German public authorities to international cooperation on the one hand and to safeguard Germany's national sovereignty on the other. Nevertheless, under the traditional dualistic presupposition that the relationship of public international law and domestic law is a relationship between two different legal spheres and that the nature of this relationship can be determined from the viewpoint of domestic law only by domestic law itself, the mainstream opinion in Germany has always insisted that international treaties and agreements rank merely as federal statutes within the hierarchy of the German legal order and may therefore be overridden by later legislation. This viewpoint is supported by the German Constitutional Court in its recent decision on »Treaty Override«, in which the Court repeatedly referred to the principles of democracy to justify treaty overrides on constitutional grounds. Through a critical analysis of the German Constitutional Court's arguments in this decision, this article attempts to show that, while the principle of friendliness and openness towards international law is never forgotten, it always serves as a national principle and therefore can only exist under the democratic premises of the German Constitution. As such the principle can hardly contribute to international cooperation or the implementation of international treaties in the German legal order. The mainstream opinion thus fails to recognize concretion the framework character of the international legal order, based on which national law is understood as concretion of the international law.