€20m proposal to double number of ECJ General Court judges likely to go ahead despite opposition
A 20 million euro plan to double the number of judges in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is set to go ahead despite the court itself opposing the plan.
The UK, which is opposed to the planned increase, is likely to be outvoted on the decision when Europe ministers meet next month.
One European diplomat said: “This is a big setback for countries like the UK, especially, that wanted to show that EU institutions can be reformed and streamlined. It doesn’t look good.”
The ECJ’s General Court comprises 28 judges, each of whom is paid over 220,000 euros per year.
However, the move has been criticised as excessive at a time when the EU is calling on national governments to cut their public spending.
Court officials suggested appointing 12 new justices and staff to deal with the 26 per cent increased case load last year.
The 28 new judges would mean every country would have a judge in the court and comes after four years of debate amongst member states, with a majority of EU countries unable to accept that some states would have more than one judge at the court.
The court’s president, Marc Jaeger, has expressed serious concern over the plan.
In a letter to governments seen by the Financial Times, he said: “There are more appropriate, more effective and less onerous means by which to strengthen the general court and to achieve better and even faster outcome for litigants.”
An EU diplomat said the court did need to be reformed but that “we are not convinced just doubling the number of judges is the right way to do it”.