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Pedro Cuesta García

GEM-DIAMOND doctoral fellow

ESR 5 – National and European courts reacting to dissensus: The case of fundamental rights protection

Pedro is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD candidate at Luiss University in Rome and at iCourts in the University of Copenhagen under the framework of the GEM-DIAMOND and Horizon Europe programmes. His research focuses on the constitutional aspects of EU law, the connections between EU and national law, and the role of courts in shaping the EU polity and the integration process. Open-minded and critical, always open to debate and new ideas.

Host Institutions

National and European courts reacting to dissensus: the cases of fundamental rights protection, national constitutional identity and the rule of law.


  • Giovanni Piccirilli
  • Mikael Madsen

Research abstract

This research investigates the gaps in the cooperation between the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and national courts, especially constitutional courts. In particular, the focus is on how such gaps, due to misunderstandings at times and open conflicts at others, have challenged the primacy of EU law and whether this phenomenon affects the autonomous nature of the EU legal order and the primacy of EU law.

Research Question(s)

Can the treaties give room to national identity concerns, and other forms of dissensus, coming from constitutional courts, without allowing illiberal positions to creep into the EU? is it possible to make the divergent positions of (uncaptured) constitutional courts and the CJEU compatible within the legal framework provided by the Treaties, and if so, how?

Selected Case Studies

With that ambitious purpose in mind, different visions offered by academia will be compared, together with our owns, and will be sieved until a solid and final theory has been constructed. In this way, the conclusions that will be obtained out of this dissertation will prove to be significant to protect the EU from a potential dismantling and reinforce its position in the rule of law crisis.

To achieve that objective, this study will analyse the main sources of disagreement throughout the history of the Union, paying particular attention to the position of the actors involved and the reasons behind them. The main sources of disagreement identified are three independents, albeit partially overlapping, legal concepts: (a) the differences in the level of protection of fundamental rights, (b) the definition and respect for “national constitutional identities” and (c) the diverging interpretations regarding what the rule of law encompasses and how it should be functionalized.

Social Relevance of your Research

Only by settling the current criticism towards primacy will the mist be dispersed, and the illiberal conducts of the Polish and Hungarian executives will be fully revealed. They are not employing the concept in a legitimate fashion but using it to violate the rule of law, fundamental rights and, ultimately, the democratic nature of the Union.
Pedro Cuesta García is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Fellow under the framework of the GEM-DIAMOND PhD fellowship, part of the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme. His joint/double PhD journey starts at Luiss Guido Carli University in Rome and continues at iCourts, the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre of Excellence for International Courts, at the University of Copenhagen. In addition, his academic experience is enriched by a stage at the International Federation for Human Rights (fidh) in Brussels during the last year of the fellowship. His thesis is supervised by Professor Giovanni Piccirilli, from Luiss University, and Professor Mikael Madsen, from the University of Copenhagen.

Pedro holds a Bachelors of Laws (LLB) from the University Carlos III de Madrid, and a "European Public Law & Governance" Masters of Laws (LLM) from the European Law School of Maastricht University. Prior to joining the GEM-DIAMOND PhD programme, Pedro was a Policy Advisor on EU law for the President of Equipo Europa, a Europeanist and non-partisan youth association with the aim of promoting the European Union among young people and encouraging youth political participation, and was part of the United Nations and International Law Society of Carlos III University (ANUDI), being the first director of "El Relator", a university legal journal focused on International Law and International relations, apart from doing a few internships in various law firms and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture.

His academic interests are centred on various areas of EU law: the constitutional aspects of the Union´s law; the connection between EU and national law, the construction of the EU polity, the rule of law, the general principles and the protection of fundamental rights among others; the Law of the Economic and Monetary Union, including the banking union, the Law of the Common Commercial policy and International Trade and Investment Law.