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Article

Access_open Is Euroscepticism Contagious?

How Mainstream Parties React to Eurosceptic Challengers in Belgian Parliaments

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2022
Keywords Euroscepticism, parliaments, party competition, Belgium, federalism
Authors Jordy Weyns and Peter Bursens
AbstractAuthor's information

    Euroscepticism has long been absent among Belgian political parties. However, since the start of the century, some Eurosceptic challengers have risen. This article examines the effect of Eurosceptic competition on the salience other parties give to the EU and on the positions these parties take in parliament. Using a sample of plenary debates in the federal and regional parliaments, we track each party’s evolution from 2000 until 2019. Our findings both contradict and qualify existing theories and findings on Eurosceptic competition. When facing Eurosceptic challengers, all parties raise salience fairly equally, but government and peripheral parties adopted (soft) Euroscepticism more often than other parties.


Jordy Weyns
Jordy Weyns is a doctoral student at the European University Institute in Florence.

Peter Bursens
Peter Bursens is professor of political science at Universiteit Antwerpen, at the research group Politics and Public Governance and the GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence.
Article

Interest Representation in Belgium

Mapping the Size and Diversity of an Interest Group Population in a Multi-layered Neo-corporatist Polity

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2021
Keywords interest groups, advocacy, access, advisory councils, media attention
Authors Evelien Willems, Jan Beyers and Frederik Heylen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article assesses the size and diversity of Belgium’s interest group population by triangulating four data sources. Combining various sources allows us to describe which societal interests get mobilised, which interest organisations become politically active and who gains access to the policy process and obtains news media attention. Unique about the project is the systematic data collection, enabling us to compare interest representation at the national, Flemish and Francophone-Walloon government levels. We find that: (1) the national government level remains an important venue for interest groups, despite the continuous transfer of competences to the subnational and European levels, (2) neo-corporatist mobilisation patterns are a persistent feature of interest representation, despite substantial interest group diversity and (3) interest mobilisation substantially varies across government levels and political-administrative arenas.


Evelien Willems
Evelien Willems is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Political Science, University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on the interplay between interest groups, public opinion and public policy.

Jan Beyers
Jan Beyers is Full Professor of Political Science at the University of Antwerp. His current research projects focus on how interest groups represent citizens interests and to what extent the politicization of public opinion affects processes of organized interest representation in public policymaking.

Frederik Heylen
Frederik Heylen holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Antwerp. His doctoral dissertation addresses the organizational development of civil society organizations and its internal and external consequences for interest representation. He is co-founder and CEO of Datamarinier.
Article

Access_open Can Non-discrimination Law Change Hearts and Minds?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords law and society, social change, discrimination, non-discrimination law, positive action
Authors Anita Böcker
AbstractAuthor's information

    A question that has preoccupied sociolegal scholars for ages is whether law can change ‘hearts and minds’. This article explores whether non-discrimination law can create social change, and, more particularly, whether it can change attitudes and beliefs as well as external behaviour. The first part examines how sociolegal scholars have theorised about the possibility and desirability of using law as an instrument of social change. The second part discusses the findings of empirical research on the social working of various types of non-discrimination law. What conclusions can be drawn about the ability of non-discrimination law to create social change? What factors influence this ability? And can non-discrimination law change people’s hearts and minds as well as their behaviour? The research literature does not provide an unequivocal answer to the latter question. However, the overall picture emerging from the sociolegal literature is that law is generally more likely to bring about changes in external behaviour and that it can influence attitudes and beliefs only indirectly, by altering the situations in which attitudes and opinions are formed.


Anita Böcker
Anita Böcker is associate professor of Sociology of Law at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
Article

Regional Differentiation in Europe, between EU Proposals and National Reforms

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords regional differentiation, regional disparities, autonomy, regionalism, subsidiarity, European Union, multilevel governance
Authors Gabriella Saputelli
AbstractAuthor's information

    Regions and local governments play a very important role in the application of European law and in the implementation of European policies. The economic crisis of 2008 has accentuated territorial and social differentiation and highlighted the negative effects of globalization. This circumstance has created resentment among peripheral and marginal communities in the electoral results, but also a strong request for involvement, participation and sometimes independence from territories. These developments raise new questions about the relationship between the EU and the Regions and, more widely, about the role of subnational entities in the EU integration process, as they are the institutions nearest to citizens.
    The aim of this article is to contribute to that debate by exploring the following research question: ‘is subnational differentiation positive or negative for European integration?’ Towards a possible answer, two perspectives are examined from a constitutional law approach. From the top down, it examines the attitude of the EU towards regional differentiation, from the origins of the EU integration process and its development until recent initiatives and proposals. From the bottom up, it analyses the role of subnational entities by presenting the Italian experience, through the reforms that have been approved over the years until the recent proposal for asymmetric regionalism. The aim is to understand whether regional differentiation still represents a positive element for the European integration process, considering the role that subnational entities play in many policies and the challenges described earlier.


Gabriella Saputelli
Researcher of Public Law at the Institute for the Study of Regionalism, Federalism and Self Government (ISSiRFA) of the National Research Council (CNR).
Article

The ECB’s Independence and the Principle of Separation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords ECB, Banking Supervision, Banking Supervision Centralization, Prudential Supervision, European Union, EU Law, Banking Union, Central Banking Independence, SSMR, SSMR
Authors Pamela Nika
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses the question of whether the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) involvement in banking supervision is compatible with its independent status as provided by the European Union’s (EU’s) primary law, specifically with reference to the principle of separation between the ECB’s monetary policy and supervisory powers. It is found that the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) Regulation provides the ECB with a set of prerequisites in pursuit of its supervisory objectives under a high level of independence. However, the article argues that the current EU regulatory framework poses risks to the overall independence of the ECB. In particular, the principle of separation, as one of the mechanisms aimed at safeguarding the ECB’s independence, is not fully achieved. In addition, the boundaries and application of macro-prudential operation of the ECB in both the SSM and European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) remain blurry and uncertain. The article concludes by suggesting that the only way to safeguard the independence of the ECB is by carefully revising the ECB’s competencies, which may require treaty amendment.


Pamela Nika
Dr Pamela Nika is a lecturer in Corporate and Finance Law at Brunel University London.
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).
PhD Review

‘Romani Women in European Politics: Exploring Multi-Layered Political Spaces for Intersectional Policies and Mobilizations’

PhD by Serena D’Agostino (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), supervisors: Karen Celis, Ilke Adam.

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2019
Authors Peter Vermeersch
Author's information

Peter Vermeersch
KU Leuven.
Article

Transitional Constitutional Unamendability?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords transitional constitutionalism, constitutional unamendability, decline of constitutional democracy, constitution-making in Hungary, the Hungarian Constitutional Court
Authors Gábor Halmai
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses the pros and cons for a suggestion to use unamendable provisions in transitional constitutions to protect the integrity and identity of constitutions drafted after a democratic transition. The presumption for such a suggestion could be that most democratic constitution-making processes are elite-driven exercises in countries with no or very little constitutional culture. The article tries to answer the question, whether in such situations unamendable constitutional provisions can help to entrench basic principles and values of constitutionalism with the help of constitutional courts reviewing amendments aimed at violating the core of constitutionalism. The article investigates the experiences of some backsliding constitutional democracies, especially Hungary, and raises the question, whether unamendable constitutional provision could have prevented the decline of constitutionalism.
    In order to discuss the issue of transitional unamendability, the article engages in the scholarly discussion on transitional constitutionalism in general, and deals with the relationship of constitutional law and constitutional culture. Another side topic of the article is whether such transitional unamendability provisions should also contain international or transnational values and principles, and what happens if those are not in conformity with the unamendable provisions that serve to build up a national constitutional identity. Again, the example of Hungary can be important here, how national constitutional identity protected by the Constitutional Court can serve to abandon the European constitutional whole.


Gábor Halmai
Gábor Halmai is Professor and Chair of Comparative Constitutional Law, European University Institute, Florence; email: gabor.halmai@eui.eu.

Laura Gyeney
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

Formele bestuurslaag of informele belangengroep?

Een literatuurstudie over de rol en invloed van lokale besturen in het Europese multilevel governance systeem

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2018
Keywords local government, Europeanization, multilevel governance, interest group politics, European decision-making, literature review
Authors Tom Verhelst
AbstractAuthor's information

    Should we consider local authorities and their associations as a formal government layer when they interact with the European institutions in order to influence EU legislation, or should this be classified as informal territorial interest group behaviour? This paper discusses the role and the influence of local authorities in the European decision-making process. Based on a literature review, the paper contrasts both positions in terms of theoretical underpinning, practical implementation and academic state of affairs. The paper demonstrates that whilst the formal perspective has gained more leeway in the official European policy discourse and subsequent institutionalisation in recent decades, it is often insufficient to guarantee the effective inclusion of local authorities in EU policy-making. Interest group action, i.e. lobbying, might therefore still be a more practical and powerful way of promoting local political interests in the European policy arena.


Tom Verhelst
Tom Verhelst is als postdoctoraal onderzoeker verbonden aan het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek van de Universiteit Gent. Hij schreef een proefschrift over de rol en positie van de gemeenteraad en de gemeenteraadsleden in België. Zijn huidig onderzoek heeft hoofdzakelijk betrekking op de Europeanisering van lokale besturen en de functie van lokale besturen in het Europese multilevel governance systeem. In het bijzonder buigt hij zich over de vraag hoe lokale besturen invloed kunnen uitoefenen op Europese besluitvorming.
Article

Asymmetry as an Instrument of Differentiated Integration

The Case of the European Union

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2016
Keywords asymmetry, comparative and EU law, differentiated integration, crisis, economic governance
Authors Giuseppe Martinico
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article offers a reflection on asymmetry as an instrument of differentiated integration in the current phase of the EU integration process. As for the structure, this work is divided into four parts: First, I shall clarify what I mean by asymmetry as an instrument of integration relying on comparative law. This comparative exercise is particularly useful because it allows us to acknowledge the strong integrative function performed by asymmetry in contexts different from but comparable to the EU system. Second, I shall look at EU law and recall the main features of asymmetry in this particular legal system. In the third part of the article I shall look at the implications of the financial crisis, which has increased the resort to asymmetric instruments. In the last part I shall deal with some recent proposals concerning the differentiated representation of the Eurozone. The idea of differentiated integration and that of asymmetry have been extended and adapted to many different processes by scholars over the years, but to avoid misunderstandings I would like to make clear that in this work I shall analyse those forms of asymmetries that are allowed and carried out only when respect for an untouchable core of integration is guaranteed. This is crucial to conceive asymmetry as an instrument of integration.


Giuseppe Martinico
Associate Professor of Comparative Public Law, Scuola Sant’Anna, Pisa; Research Fellow, Centre for Studies on Federalism, Turin; Honorary Professor at the European law research centre, University of Henan, Kaifeng, China. Article Completed on 23 February 2016. This article is part of the project "Gobernanza económica europea y transformación constitucional”, (MINECO, DER2014-57116P).
Article

Piecemeal Harmonization of European Civil Law

The Case of Limitation Periods in the Antitrust Damages Directive

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2016
Authors Miriam Buiten
Author's information

Miriam Buiten
PhD candidate, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

Identifying the Impetus behind the Europeanization of the Private International Law Rules on Family Matters and Succession

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2015
Keywords area of freedom security and justice, EU citizenship, free movement of persons, international family matters, international succession
Authors Jacqueline Gray PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    The EU is currently in the midst of unifying the private international law rules on family matters and succession. This article seeks to explain this expansion into essentially non-economic territory. In order to do so, it presents the ideological, problem-based, and legal considerations that appear to lie at the heart of legislative action in these fields. However, as will become apparent, it is the role of the Member States that is crucial in guiding this process.


Jacqueline Gray PhD
PhD Candidate, Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law, Utrecht University.
Article

Addressing the Pension Challenge: Can the EU Respond?

Towards Facilitating the Portability of Supplementary (Occupational) Pension Rights

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2014
Keywords Economic crisis, social protection, pension provision, occupational pensions, cross-border portability of pension rights
Authors Konstantina Kalogeropoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    The European economic crisis has underlined the challenges that Member States of the European Union face towards ensuring adequate social protection provision for their citizens. The effects of the crisis have and can further impact on the capacity of pension schemes, both state provided and privately managed, that constitute a significant aspect of social protection, to deliver pension promises. This paper highlights the current situation that the common pension challenges pose for Member States and focuses on a particular issue around occupational pension provision, which has been on the European Commission’s agenda for a long time, and on which limited progress had been made. This is the issue of cross-border portability of supplementary pension rights. It is argued that current circumstances facilitate EU action to be taken in this area. In the first section, the paper identifies the main challenges around pension provision stemming from demographic ageing and the effects of the economic crisis. Section two provides a brief overview of the Commission’s holistic approach envisaged in its 2012 White Paper on safe, adequate, and sustainable pensions. Section three provides an overview of the issue of the portability of supplementary pension rights for EU workers. Section four outlines previous attempts and recent developments towards the adoption of legislative measures to promote the portability of such pension entitlements. The paper concludes by arguing that the renewed focus on pensions, in the context of current challenges and the need to enhance workers’ mobility and to provide adequate social protection, have paved the way towards the adoption of measures in this area.


Konstantina Kalogeropoulou
Senior Lecturer in Law, Kingston University. I would like to thank Dr Ioannis Glinavos for the invitation to participate in this special issue.
Article

Disintegration of the State Monopoly on Dispute Resolution

How Should We Perceive State Sovereignty in the ODR Era?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2014
Keywords online dispute resolution, sovereignty, justification
Authors Riikka Koulu LLM
AbstractAuthor's information

    The interests of state sovereignty are preserved in conflict management through adoption of a state monopoly for dispute resolution as the descriptive and constitutive concept of the resolution system. State monopoly refers to the state’s exclusive right to decide on the resolution of legal conflicts on its own soil, in other words, in the state’s territorial jurisdiction. This also forms the basis of international procedural law. This conceptual fiction is derived from the social contract theories of Hobbes and Locke, and it preserves the state’s agenda. However, such a monopoly is disintegrating in the Internet era because it fails to provide an effective resolution method for Internet disputes in cross-border cases, and, consequently, online dispute resolution has gained ground in the dispute resolution market. It raises the question of whether we should discard the state monopoly as the focal concept of dispute resolution and whether we should open a wider discussion on possible justificatory constructions of dispute resolution, i.e. sovereignty, contract and quality standards, as a whole, re-evaluating the underlying structure of procedural law.


Riikka Koulu LLM
Riikka Koulu, LLM, trained on the bench, is currently a doctoral candidate in procedural law at the University of Helsinki, Finland.
Article

Access_open EU Law Reform: Cross-Border Civil and Commercial Procedural Law and Cross-Border Insolvency Law

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 2 2014
Keywords Private International Law, Commercial and Insolvency Law, EU Law reforms
Authors S.F.G. Rammeloo
AbstractAuthor's information

    Business contractors increasingly find themselves involved in a private or commercial law relationship with cross-border elements. In case commercial disputes have to be adjudicated in court proceedings questions to be answered are: the court of which legal order has competence, the law of which country shall be applied, and is a court order from a foreign legal order enforceable or not? The strive for a (European) Single Market presupposes the breaking down of (procedural as well as substantive) legal barriers emanating from the cross-border nature of private law relationships, notably business transactions.
    This contribution, concentrating on tomorrow’s European PIL in notably the area of civil procedural law, highlights the first and the third question from the perspective of the upcoming entry into force (10 January 2015) of EU Regulation No. 1215/2012 concerning jurisdiction and recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters and the proposed amendments to EU Regulation No. 1346/2000 on cross-border Insolvency Proceedings.


S.F.G. Rammeloo
Associate Professor EU Private International Law and Comparative Company Law – Faculty of Law, Maastricht University, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open The EU Response to the Trade in Conflict Minerals from Central Africa

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 1 2014
Keywords corporate social responsibility, conflict minerals, private regulation, public regulation, European Union
Authors Tomas Königs, Sohail Wahedi and Tjalling Waterbolk
AbstractAuthor's information

    The trade in conflict minerals has led to the eruption and conservation of conflicts and gross violations of human rights, in particular in the central African region. In response, various public and private entities have taken measures to counter this development. The purpose of this essay is to analyze how the European Union, in light of its promotion of corporate social responsibility, should regulate the behaviour of multinational companies dealing with minerals from conflict-ridden areas. In light of recent initiatives taken by the UN, the United States and the mineral-extraction industry, it is examined whether the EU should adopt public regulation or whether it should continue its promotion of private self-regulatory regimes. The authors argue that the EU should promote regulation at the level that provides the strongest incentive for companies to comply with their duties. This article shows that both private and public regulation have their limitations in regulating the trade in conflict minerals and that the EU should thus adopt a mix of both. In doing so, the development of transparency norms can be delegated to companies, stakeholders and other affected parties, while the EU could provide for an effective accountability mechanism to enforce these norms.


Tomas Königs
Tomas Königs is a graduate student of the Legal Research Master (LLM) at Utrecht University.

Sohail Wahedi
Sohail Wahedi is a graduate student of the Legal Research Master (LLM) at Utrecht University.

Tjalling Waterbolk
Tjalling Waterbolk is a graduate student of the Legal Research Master (LLM) at Utrecht University.

Saskia Bonjour
Saskia Bonjour is onderzoeker aan het Instituut voor Geschiedenis van de Universiteit Leiden. Haar onderzoek richt zich op migratiebeleid in Nederland en Europa, met bijzondere aandacht voor gezinsmigratiebeleid, inburgeringsbeleid, europeanisering, en gender.

Maarten Vink
Maarten Vink is universitair hoofddocent Politieke Wetenschap aan de Universiteit Maastricht, waar hij het Maastricht Center for Citizenship, Migration and Development (MACIMIDE) coördineert. Hij is tevens deeltijd hoogleraar aan het Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies van het European University Institute, waar hij het European Union Democracy Observatory on Citizenship (EUDO CITIZENSHIP) coördineert. Zijn onderzoek richt zich op politiek sociologische vraagstukken rond immigratie en burgerschap in vergelijkend perspectief.

    This article discusses the possibility spouses have under the Rome III Regulation (EC Regulation 1259/2010) to choose the law applicable to their divorce. It discusses the limits and exceptions of this freedom to choose.


Dr. Thalia Kruger
Thalia Kruger is professor at the law faculty of the University of Antwerp, where she teaches and researches private international law, international civil procedure and international family law. She is also Honorary Research Associate at the University of Cape Town.
Article

The Impact of Europeanization of Contract Law on English Contract Law

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2012
Keywords Rome I and II Regulations, Europeanization, contract law, Common European Sales Law, faulty goods
Authors Omar Abdelaziz
Abstract

    The ongoing process of Europeanization for promoting cross-border transactions and conferring better protection for consumers and small businesses has had its impact all over Europe. It represents a new step towards a harmonized set of legal rules to govern cross-border transactions in the field of contract law. So what is its exact scope? Who will benefit from it? What are its risks? What is its methodology? Does it represent a codification of common law rules? What will be its impact especially on common law countries such as the United Kingdom? The effectiveness of Europeanization depends almost entirely on the correct implementation into national law of the various directives; every member state is obliged to fully implement a harmonized measure into its domestic laws. This is accomplished by ensuring that (1) the relevant legal framework meets the requirements of the harmonized measure and (2) the application of the domestic rules giving effect to a harmonizing measure does not undermine the effectiveness of the European measure. English contract law is largely an uncodified law. Accordingly, the approach taken and the methods used by this jurisdiction to implement European directives into its national laws with the aim of harmonization are different. How did the English courts interpret legislations that implement EU legislations? Will Europeanization affect the deep-rooted principles and doctrines of English contract law (issues of commercial agency), good faith in pre-contractual obligations, unfair contract terms and specific performance? Finally, what could be the clash between European contract law, Rome I Regulations and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods? Could this optional instrument be an exclusive law to either national or international mandatory rules for consumers in member states? What will be the qualification for a genuine consent of consumers in cross-border contracts? Will it lead to the development of the internal market as envisaged by the Commission?


Omar Abdelaziz
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