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Article

Access_open Ship Recycling Financial Instruments: A Tax or Not a Tax?

Some Brief Reflections

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Ship Recycling Fund, Ship Recycling License, green ship scrapping, EU concept of tax, earmarked tax
Authors Han Kogels and Ton Stevens
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article the question is reviewed whether two by the EU Commission proposed financial instruments to stimulate ‘green’ ship scrapping, (i) a Ship Recycling Fund (SRF) and (ii) a Ship Recycling License (SRL), might be qualified as a ‘tax’ under Article 192(2) TFEU. Qualification as such a “tax” would mean that the EU Commission can only introduce such a financial instrument with unanimity voting. The authors first explore the concept of ‘tax’ in the TFEU in general and in Article 192(2) TFEU in particular. Based on this analysis, the authors conclude that levies paid to an SRF might be qualified as an ‘earmarked tax’ falling within the definition of a ‘fiscal provision’ in the meaning of Article 192(2) TFEU, which means that levies to such a fund can only be introduced by unanimity voting. The SRL fee consists of two elements: (i) a fee to cover administrative expenses and (ii) a contribution to a savings account. The fee to cover administrative expenses is qualified by the authors as a retribution that should not be qualified as a fiscal provision in the meaning of Article 192(2) TFEU. The contribution to a blocked savings account can neither be qualified as a tax nor as a retribution. Therefore, the SRL fee can be introduced without unanimity voting by the EU Council.


Han Kogels
H.A. Kogels is Emeritus professor of European tax law Erasmus School of Law.

Ton Stevens
A.J.A. Stevens is Professor of corporation tax law Tilburg University and of counsel Loyens & Loeff, Rotterdam. He was previously holding the chair of international tax law at Erasmus School of Law and initially involved in the ship recycling financial instrument project but did not participate in the drafting of the final report.
Article

Access_open Basel IV Postponed: A Chance to Regulate Shadow Banking?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Basel Accords, EU Law, shadow banking, financial stability, prudential regulation
Authors Katarzyna Parchimowicz and Ross Spence
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the aftermath of the 2007 global financial crisis, regulators have agreed a substantial tightening of prudential regulation for banks operating in the traditional banking sector (TBS). The TBS is stringently regulated under the Basel Accords to moderate financial stability and to minimise risk to government and taxpayers. While prudential regulation is important from a financial stability perspective, the flipside is that the Basel Accords only apply to the TBS, they do not regulate the shadow banking sector (SBS). While it is not disputed that the SBS provides numerous benefits given the net credit growth of the economy since the global financial crisis has come from the SBS rather than traditional banking channels, the SBS also poses many risks. Therefore, the fact that the SBS is not subject to prudential regulation is a cause of serious systemic concern. The introduction of Basel IV, which compliments Basel III, seeks to complete the Basel framework on prudential banking regulation. On the example of this set of standards and its potential negative consequences for the TBS, this paper aims to visualise the incentives for TBS institutions to move some of their activities into the SBS, and thus stress the need for more comprehensive regulation of the SBS. Current coronavirus crisis forced Basel Committee to postpone implementation of the Basel IV rules – this could be perceived as a chance to complete the financial regulatory framework and address the SBS as well.


Katarzyna Parchimowicz
Katarzyna Parchimowicz, LLM. Finance (Frankfurt), is PhD candidate at the University of Wrocław, Poland, and Young Researcher at the European Banking Institute, Frankfurt, Germany.

Ross Spence
Ross Spence, EURO-CEFG, is PhD Fellow at Leiden University Law School, and Young Researcher at the European Banking Institute and Research Associate at the Amsterdam Centre for Law and Economics.
Article

Le nouveau code de procédure pénale en Côte d’ivoire

entre avancées et innovations

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Code de procédure pénale, Côte d’ivoire, droits de l’homme, justice, Criminal procedure code, human rights
Authors Judicaël Elisée Tiehi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Longtemps critiqué pour son système pénal jugé suranné, l’Etat de Côte d’ivoire a fait le choix de se doter d’un nouveau de procédure pénale dans le sillage de sa politique de réforme juridique et institutionnel et de modernisation de son système judiciaire. Adopté par la loi n° 2018-975 du 27 décembre 2018 en vue de le conformer aux standards juridiques nationaux (la Constitution de 2016) et internationaux, ce nouveau code à l’architecture profondément restructurée consacre des avancées majeures en matière de protection des droits de l’homme dont l’une des plus emblématique reste la codification inédite de principes directeurs irradiant les différentes phases de la procédure pénale. Ces innovations, matérialisées par la consécration de mécanismes procéduraux révolutionnaires ainsi que par la création des institutions pénales nouvelles, constituent un tremplin vers la consolidation de l’Etat de droit dans le cadre duquel les attributs d’indépendance, d’impartialité et d’équité procédurale occuperont une place de choix.

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    Long criticized for his outdated criminal system, State of Côte d’ivoire has established a new criminal procedure code in the wake of its legal and institutional policy reform and modernization of its judicial system. Adopted by law n° 2018-975 on 27 December 2018 in order to comply it with national (constitutional provisions of 2016) and international legal standards, this new code with its profoundly restructured architecture enshrines major advances in relation to human rights protection, one of the most emblematic of which is the codification of guiding principles covering of various stages of criminal procedure. These innovations, embodied in setting of revolutionary procedural mechanisms and creation of new penal institutions are springboards towards the development Rule of law in which attributes of independence, impartiality and procedural equity will occupy a prominent place.


Judicaël Elisée Tiehi
L’auteur est Doctorant-chercheur en droit international public au Centre Jean Bodin de l’Université d’Angers. Sous la co-direction de Caroline DUPARC (Maître de Conférences en droit privé et sciences criminelles à l’université d’Angers - France) et Annalisa CIAMPI (Professeure de droit international public à l’université de Vérone – Italie), ses travaux de recherches portent sur « Les droits procéduraux devant la Cour pénale internationale: essai critique sur le régime de participation des victimes ». Il tient à remercier sincèrement Mauriac GNOKA pour son assistance documentaire, Hermann Rodrigue ABY et Prudence Claire-Josiane TIEHI pour leurs précieuses relectures.
Title

Parliamentary Follow-up of Law Commission Bills

An Irish Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords law reform, legislation, Ireland, drafting, parliament
Authors Ciarán Burke
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article seeks to present a brief outline of the various means through which the draft bills and recommendations drafted by the Law Reform Commission of Ireland and published in its reports are followed up by the Irish Parliament, the Oireachtas. The Commission’s position within the Irish legislative architecture is explained, as is the process through which bills become laws in Ireland. The Commission, it is noted, occupies an unusual role. Although there is no requirement for its publications to result in legislation, ultimately the lion’s share of its output is followed up on in the legislative process in one form or another, with its publications attracting the attention of both the government and opposition parties. The challenges and advantages presented by operating within a small jurisdiction are also outlined, while some thoughts are offered on the Commission’s future.


Ciarán Burke
Professor of International Law, Friedrich Schiller Universität, Jena, and former Director of Research at the Law Reform Commission of Ireland. The author would like to thank Alexandra Molitorisovà for her help in preparing this article.
Editorial

Access_open Introduction

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2020
Authors Frank Weerman Ph.D.
Author's information

Frank Weerman Ph.D.
Frank Weerman is Endowed Professor of Youth Criminology at the Erasmus School of Law and a senior researcher at the NSCR (Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement). From 2021 onwards, he is the editor-in-chief of the Erasmus Law Review.
Article

Access_open Safeguarding the Dynamic Legal Position of Children: A Matter of Age Limits?

Reflections on the Fundamental Principles and Practical Application of Age Limits in Light of International Children’s Rights Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2020
Keywords age limits, dynamic legal position, children’s rights, maturity, evolving capacities
Authors Stephanie Rap, Eva Schmidt and Ton Liefaard
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article a critical reflection upon age limits applied in the law is provided, in light of the tension that exists in international children’s rights law between the protection of children and the recognition of their evolving autonomy. The main research question that will be addressed is to what extent the use of (certain) age limits is justified under international children’s rights law. The complexity of applying open norms and theoretically underdeveloped concepts as laid down in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, related to the development and evolving capacities of children as rights holders, will be demonstrated. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child struggles to provide comprehensive guidance to states regarding the manner in which the dynamic legal position of children should be applied in practice. The inconsistent application of age limits that govern the involvement of children in judicial procedures provides states leeway in granting children autonomy, potentially leading to the establishment of age limits based on inappropriate – practically, politically or ideologically motivated – grounds.


Stephanie Rap
Stephanie Rap is assistant professor in children’s rights at the Department of Child Law, Leiden Law School, the Netherlands.

Eva Schmidt
Eva Schmidt is PhD candidate at the Department of Child Law, Leiden Law School, the Netherlands.

Ton Liefaard
Ton Liefaard is Vice-Dean of Leiden Law School and holds the UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights at Leiden University, Leiden Law School, the Netherlands.
Article

From victimisation to restorative justice: developing the offer of restorative justice

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Restorative policing, restorative justice, offer to victims, policing, action research
Authors Joanna Shapland, Daniel Burn, Adam Crawford e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Restorative justice services have expanded in England and Wales since the Victim’s Code 2015. Yet evidence from the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that in 2016-2017 only 4.1 per cent of victims recall being offered such a service. This article presents the evidence from an action research project set in three police forces in England and Wales, which sought to develop the delivery of restorative justice interventions with victims of adult and youth crime. We depict the complexity intrinsic to making an offer of restorative justice and the difficulties forces experienced in practice, given the cultural, practical and administrative challenges encountered during the course of three distinct pilot projects. Points of good practice, such as institutional buy-in, uncomplicated referral processes and adopting a victim-focused mindset are highlighted. Finally, we draw the results from the different projects together to suggest a seven-point set of requirements that need to be in place for the offer of restorative practice to become an effective and familiar process in policing.


Joanna Shapland
Joanna Shapland is Edward Bramley Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Daniel Burn
Daniel Burn is a former Research Officer at the University of Leeds, UK.

Adam Crawford
Adam Crawford is the Director of the Leeds Social Sciences Institute and Director of the N8 Policing Research Partnership at the University of Leeds, UK.

Emily Gray
Emily Gray is Senior Lecturer in Criminology, The School of Business, Law and the Social Sciences at the University of Derby, UK. Contact author: j.m.shapland@sheffield.ac.uk.
Case Law

2020/1 EELC’s review of the year 2019

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2020
Authors Ruben Houweling, Daiva Petrylaitė, Peter Schöffmann e.a.
Abstract

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Daiva Petrylaitė

Peter Schöffmann

Attila Kun

Francesca Maffei

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Niklas Bruun

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Anthony Kerr

Petr Hůrka

Michal Vrajík

    Relying on the prohibition of age discrimination stemming from Directive 2000/78, the Brussels Labour Tribunal, in a judgment of 28 November 2019, ruled that an age limit of 25 for the recruitment of air traffic controllers constituted direct discrimination. Its decision was grounded on the fact that even if there are objective reasons related to air traffic safety which may justify setting an age limit for applicants, the employer must adduce concrete evidence based on scientific facts.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney-at-law at Van Olmen & Wynant, Brussels.
Article

Access_open Changes in the Medical Device’s Regulatory Framework and Its Impact on the Medical Device’s Industry: From the Medical Device Directives to the Medical Device Regulations

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2019
Keywords Medical Device Directive, Medical Device Regulation, regulatory, European Union, reform, innovation, SPCs, policy
Authors Magali Contardi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Similar to pharmaceutical products, medical devices play an increasingly important role in healthcare worldwide by contributing substantially to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. From the patent law perspective both, pharmaceutical products and a medical apparatus, product or device can be patented if they meet the patentability requirements, which are novelty, inventiveness and entail industrial applicability. However, regulatory issues also impact on the whole cycle of the innovation. At a European level, enhancing competitiveness while ensuring public health and safety is one of the key objectives of the European Commission. This article undertakes literature review of the current and incoming regulatory framework governing medical devices with the aim of highlighting how these major changes would affect the industry at issue. The analysis is made in the framework of an on-going research work aimed to determine whether SPCs are needed for promoting innovation in the medical devices industry. A thorough analysis the aforementioned factors affecting medical device’s industry will allow the policymakers to understand the root cause of any optimal patent term and find appropriate solutions.


Magali Contardi
PhD candidate; Avvocato (Italian Attorney at Law).

    This article relies on the premise that to understand the significance of Open Access Repositories (OARs) it is necessary to know the context of the debate. Therefore, it is necessary to trace the historical development of the concept of copyright as a property right. The continued relevance of the rationales for copyright interests, both philosophical and pragmatic, will be assessed against the contemporary times of digital publishing. It follows then discussion about the rise of Open Access (OA) practice and its impact on conventional publishing methods. The present article argues about the proper equilibrium between self-interest and social good. In other words, there is a need to find a tool in order to balance individuals’ interests and common will. Therefore, there is examination of the concept of property that interrelates justice (Plato), private ownership (Aristotle), labour (Locke), growth of personality (Hegel) and a bundle of rights that constitute legal relations (Hohfeld). This examination sets the context for the argument.


Nikos Koutras
Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty of Law, University of Antwerp.
Article

The European Union and Space

A ‘Star Wars’ Saga?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords EU space competence, EU Space Policy, Galileo, Copernicus, Framework Agreement ESA-EU
Authors Rebecca-Emmanuela Papadopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explores the complex relationship between the European Union (EU) and space, alias space’s ever-growing place and role in the EU legal order. Two distinct paths are identified in this respect. On the one hand, as from the mid-1980s and despite the lack of an express ‘space competence’, space policy parameters were introduced in EU acts regulating telecommunications, satellite communications and electronic databases, but only to the extent necessary to serve the functioning of the single market. On the other hand, an autonomous EU Space Policy has been progressively elaborated as from the late 1990s through several initiatives, namely the strengthening of the collaboration with the European Space Agency and the setting up of the Galileo and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES)/Copernicus programmes. This tendency was corroborated by the conferral of an express space competence on the EU by the Lisbon Treaty, whose constitutional and institutional implications are explored in this article. It is submitted that the new space competence shall allow the EU to reach a stage of maturity and claim a greater degree of autonomy at the international level and, at the same time, to project its own governance model, thus enhancing the quality of international cooperation in space.


Rebecca-Emmanuela Papadopoulou
Rebecca-Emmanuela Papadopoulou is Assistant Professor, Law School, NKUA.
Article

Law Reform in Ireland

Implementation and Independence of Law Reform Commission

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords law reform, statute law revision, better regulation, access to legislation, lawyer’s law
Authors Edward Donelan
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the origins and work of the Law Reform Commission in Ireland. The model follows that in Common Law countries. Its work includes both substantive law reform and statute law revision (weeding out spent or unused statutes and undertaking consolidation or other work to make statute law more accessible.) The work of the Commission focuses on ‘lawyers’ law’ and, therefore, avoids subjects that could be politically controversial. Consequentially, the bulk of its recommendations are accepted and translated into legislation.


Edward Donelan
Edward Donelan, PhD, M.A., Barrister-at-Law (Kings Inns, Dublin, Middle Temple, London), Dip. Eur. Law, Dip. Arb. Better Regulation and Legislative Drafting Expert, currently working on projects with the Attorney General in Botswana to develop a programme of law reform for the newly established Law Reform Unit in the Chambers of the Attorney General.
Article

The New Regulation Governing AIR, VIR and Consultation

A Further Step Forward Towards ‘Better Regulation’ in Italy

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords regulation, RIA, regulatory impact analysis, impact assessment, evaluation, consultation
Authors Victor Chimienti
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the scope and contents of the newly adopted regulation governing regulatory impact analysis (RIA) and ex post evaluation of regulation (ExPER) in the Italian legal system. The article shows that this regulation has the potential to improve regulatory governance in Italy. Not only does it introduce innovations designed to increase transparency and participation, especially through strengthened consultation and communication mechanisms, but it also aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of regulatory analysis and evaluation activities. How the new regulation will be applied in practice, however, remains to be seen. In the meantime, the new set of rules are a welcome addition to Italy’s Better Regulation policy.


Victor Chimienti
Victor Chimienti is an international and EU lawyer currently working as a free-lance consultant on donor funded projects. In 1997, he graduated in Law with full marks at the University of Bari “Aldo Moro” (Italy), and, in 2006, obtained his Ph.D in International and EU Law from the same university. Meanwhile, he had attended post-graduate legal studies at LUISS University in Rome, Italy, specialising in international and EC business law. Dr. Chimienti has also served as Lecturer in International and Trade Law at the University of Foggia, Italy, and as Research Scholar in International & Comparative Law at the University of Michigan, USA. Among others, he specialises in Better Regulation tools and procedures, such as Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), Ex-Post Evaluation of Legislation, Monitoring, and Public Consultation.
Article

Law Reform and the Executive

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords law reform, parliamentary counsel, legislative drafting, Australia, Victoria
Authors Adam Bushby
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article comments on the process of law reform in Australia from the perspective of a legislative drafter. After a description of the Australian political and parliamentary system and a discussion of the role of the legislative drafter, a brief summary of the formal law reform processes in Australia is provided, including a discussion of how legislative drafting offices participate in the law reform process. Participation includes the drafting of Bills giving effect to law reform proposals based on drafting instructions approved by Cabinet, providing for the undertaking of statutory reviews, as well as the remaking of legislation. It is the role of the legislative drafter to assist the government by turning policy into legislation, so the focus here is on the practical implementation of law reform rather than the independence of law reform bodies.


Adam Bushby
Senior Parliamentary Counsel, Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria, Australia. This article reflects the opinions of the author only, and should not be taken as representing the stance of the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Victoria, Australia. I would, of course, welcome any feedback from anyone with an interest in law reform.
Article

Parliamentary Control over Delegated Legislation in Japan

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords statutory instruments, sole law-making organ, supplementary resolution, legislative veto, Committee on Oversight of Administration
Authors Katsuhiro Musashi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The delegation of legislation from the parliament to the administration plays an important role in a modern administrative state. In Britain, parliamentary control – whereby the parliament has the right to approve or veto a delegated legislation – has been institutionalized and implemented. On the other hand, the Japanese parliament is powerless to approve a delegated order beforehand or ex post. Therefore, improper procedures such as the deviation of the delegated order from the enabling act by a governmental agency, or the introduction of arbitrary administrative measures, have been carried out under insufficient supervision by the parliament in Japan. The National Diet of Japan should, ideally, also hold the power to control the administrative order on the basis of the legal principles formulated by the Diet. Therefore, we propose the introduction of a parliamentary control system that invalidates the ex post enactment of a cabinet order if both Houses of parliament refuse the order within 40 days of its submission. These procedures would have increased efficacy when augmented with a political check function on the proposed cabinet orders by the parliament’s Committee on Oversight of Administration, or their standing committees.


Katsuhiro Musashi
Katsuhiro Musashi is Professor of Law and Policy at the Faculty of Policy Studies, Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan.

    The UN General Assembly established the International Law Commission (“ILC”) in 1947 to assist States with the promotion of 1) the progressive development of international law and 2) its codification. The ILC’s first assignment from the General Assembly was to formulate the Nuremberg Principles, which affirmed the then radical idea that individuals can be held liable for certain international crimes at the international level. Since then, the ILC has played a seminal role in the development of modern international criminal law. In 2017, the ILC adopted on first reading a draft convention aimed at the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity which it transmitted to States for comments. The draft treaty will help fill the present gap in the law of international crimes since States criminalized genocide in 1948 and war crimes in 1949, but missed the opportunity to do so for crimes against humanity. This Article examines the first reading text using the lens of the ILC’s two-pronged mandate. Part II explains how the ILC can take up new topics and the main reasons why it decided to propose a new crimes against humanity convention. Part III discusses positive features of the draft convention, highlighting key aspects of each of the Draft Articles. Part IV critiques the ILC draft treaty focusing on inconsistencies in the use of the ICC definition of the crime, immunities, amnesties, and the lack of a proposal on a treaty monitoring mechanism. The final part draws tentative conclusions. The author argues that, notwithstanding the formal distinction drawn by the ILC Statute between progressive development, on the one hand, and codification, on the other hand, the ILC’s approach to the crimes against humanity topic follows a well settled methodology of proposing draft treaties that are judged likely to be effective and broadly acceptable to States rather than focusing on which provisions reflect codification and which constitute progressive development of the law. It is submitted that, if the General Assembly takes forward the ILC’s draft text to conclude a new crimes against humanity treaty after the second reading, this will make a significant contribution to the development of modern international criminal law.


Charles C. Jalloh B.A. LL.B Ph.D
Professor of Law, Florida International University and Member, International Law Commission.
Article

Access_open Mercosur: Limits of Regional Integration

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords Mercosur, European Union, regionalism, integration, international organisation
Authors Ricardo Caichiolo
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study is focused on the evaluation of successes and failures of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur). This analysis of Mercosur’s integration seeks to identify the reasons why the bloc has stagnated in an incomplete customs union condition, although it was originally created to achieve a common market status. To understand the evolution of Mercosur, the study offers some thoughts about the role of the European Union (EU) as a model for regional integration. Although an EU-style integration has served as a model, it does not necessarily set the standards by which integration can be measured as we analyse other integration efforts. However, the case of Mercosur is emblematic: during its initial years, Mercosur specifically received EU technical assistance to promote integration according to EU-style integration. Its main original goal was to become a common market, but so far, almost thirty years after its creation, it remains an imperfect customs union.
    The article demonstrates the extent to which almost thirty years of integration in South America could be considered a failure, which would be one more in a list of previous attempts of integration in Latin America, since the 1960s. Whether it is a failure or not, it is impossible to envisage EU-style economic and political integration in South America in the foreseeable future. So far, member states, including Brazil, which could supposedly become the engine of economic and political integration in South America, have remained sceptical about the possibility of integrating further politically and economically. As member states suffer political and economic turmoil, they have concentrated on domestic recovery before being able to dedicate sufficient time and energy to being at the forefront of integration.


Ricardo Caichiolo
Ricardo Caichiolo, PhD (Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium) is legal and legislative adviser to the Brazilian Senate and professor and coordinator of the post graduate programs on Public Policy, Government Relations and Law at Ibmec (Instituto Brasileiro de Mercado de Capitais, Brazil).
Article

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

Specific Features and Problems of Application

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, protection of minority languages, protection of regional languages, supervisory regime
Authors Gábor Kardos
AbstractAuthor's information

    As was the case after the Great War, World War II was followed by the setting up of international legal regimes to protect national (national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious) minorities in Europe. The emerging ideas of universalism and European unity were to prevent the aftermath of World War I, a conflict which erupted as a result of Western focusing the system of European minority protection on Central and Eastern Europe. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages protects minority languages, without granting minority rights. It provides an á la Carte system of obligations, with a supervisory system hinged on government reports. The Charter was intended to be a ‘high politics’ treaty. Nevertheless, with the protection of the minority linguistic heritage and the indirect provision of minority linguistic rights, it meant a first step towards bringing an end to the 19th century processes linguistic homogenization of the budding nationstates. As such, its implementation is highly political. The minority languages protected by the Charter are strongly varied in nature. If we add this factor to the á la Carte system of obligations, the sheer complexity of the system prevents evaluations of the Committee of Experts from being as consistent as they should be. An important contribution of the soft supervisory mechanism is that it at least puts some problematic issues on the agenda, however, experience has shown that the transposition of treaty obligations into national law is always a simpler task than creating the substantive conditions for the actual use of minority languages.


Gábor Kardos
Professor of law, ELTE Law School, Budapest; Member of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
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