This article focuses on the relationships between the Italian Constitutional Court (ICC) and the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) when the necessity of managing policies affecting delicate constitutional issues is at stake. The mechanisms which govern the use by national courts and particularly constitutional courts of the preliminary reference are put under scrutiny. The author claims that for the dialogue between the two courts to work is important to review the legal premises on which the involvement of a constitutional court in matters of European Union (EU) law is based. In Italy in principle only when EU law lacks direct effect would there be room for the ICC to intervene in the process of adaptation of the domestic legal system to the European, irrespective of the matter at stake. In this way the role of a constitutional court is barely distinguishable from regular courts.
The article purports that this situation is unsatisfactory from a normative point of view according to which constitutional courts should take part – using preliminary reference to the ECJ – in a broader European constitutional discourse and that a concept of ‘sensitive constitutional issues’ should instead inspire the mechanism by which constitutional courts deal with the area covered by Article 267 TFEU.European Public Law