Keywords: Taricco; Controlimiti doctrine; Supremacy of EU Law; Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU; Preliminary Ruling.
The essay focuses on the constitutional conflict, triggered by the ECJ Taricco ruling, between the duty upon the Member States to protect the financial interests of the EU (enshrined in Art. 325 of the TFEU) and the principle of legality in criminal matters (enshrined in Article 25 of the Italian Constitution). The constitutional conflict did not explode thanks to the cooperative choice of the Italian Constitutional Court to refer a preliminary ruling to the ECJ, rather than applying its 'controlimiti' doctrine and declaring EU law inapplicable in the domestic legal order. It is submitted that the ECJ reciprocated this cooperative attitude by acknowledging that even EU primary law shall respect the principle of legality. Nevertheless, it considered the latter as a general principle of EU law, rather than as a supreme constitutional principle, in order to preserve the dogma of the absolute primacy of EU law upon national laws.