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

Ton Stevens
Prof. Dr. 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 Het classicistische politieke denken van Van Hogendorp

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue Pre-publications 2020
Keywords classicistisch politiek denken, constitutie, Van Hogendorp, Grondwet, politieke filosofie
Authors Alban Mik
AbstractAuthor's information

    Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp is the auctor intellectualis of the 1818 Dutch constitution. It was his sketch for a new constitution that was used as a starting point for the deliberations of its original drafting committee. Van Hogendorp justifies his constitution as a restoration of the Burgundian constitution that applied before the Dutch Republic. In recent literature Van Hogendorp’s restorational argument is presented as an invention of tradition. In this article an alternative explanation is presented, namely that it is part of a form of classicist political thought that was common during the ancien régime. Van Hogendorp describes his constitution as a moderate monarchy, in which the three principles of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy are properly balanced. And he mainly defends this mixed regime by pointing out that it is a restoration of the old Burgundian constitution of the Netherlands. This way of reasoning is, as will be shown, typically classicistic.


Alban Mik
Alban Mik is onderzoeker aan de Afdeling Metajuridica, vakgroep Rechtsfilosofie van de Universiteit Leiden.

Albert Dzur
Albert Dzur is Distinguished Research Professor, Departments of Political Science and Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, USA.
Article

Still Consociational? Belgian Democracy, 50 Years After ‘The Politics of Accommodation’

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Belgium, consociational democracy, Lijphart, federalism, ethnolinguistic conflict
Authors Didier Caluwaerts and Min Reuchamps
AbstractAuthor's information

    Despite the enduring importance of Lijphart’s work for understanding democracy in Belgium, the consociational model has come under increasing threat. Owing to deep political crises, decreasing levels of trust in elites, increasing levels of ethnic outbidding and rising demands for democratic reform, it seems as if Lijphart’s model is under siege. Even though the consociational solution proved to be very capable of transforming conflict into cooperation in Belgian politics in the past, the question we raise in this article is whether and to what extent the ‘politics of accommodation’ is still applicable to Belgian democracy. Based on an in-depth analysis of the four institutional (grand coalition, proportionality, mutual veto rights and segmental autonomy) and one cultural (public passivity) criteria, we argue that consociational democracy’s very nature and institutional set-up has largely hollowed out its potential for future conflict management.


Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is professor of political science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research deals with democratic governance and innovation in deeply divided societies. With Min Reuchamps, he has recently published “The Legitimacy of Citizen-led Deliberative Democracy: The G1000 in Belgium” (Routledge, 2018).

Min Reuchamps
Min Reuchamps is professor of political science at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). His teaching and research interests are federalism and multi-level governance, democracy and its different dimensions, relations between language(s) and politics and in particular the role of metaphors, as well as participatory and deliberative methods.
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).

Petra Lea Láncos
Researcher, Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung, Speyer; associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

Fiscal Equalization among the Hungarian Local Governments – Autonomy v. Equity

Decision No. 3383/2018. (XII. 14.) AB of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords European Charter of Local Self-Government, financial resources of local authorities, fiscal equalization, solidarity levy, Constitutional Court of Hungary
Authors Gábor Kecső
AbstractAuthor's information

    The 2017 budget of Hungary contains a regime on fiscal equalization among local governments that distracts funds from the municipalities with relatively high taxing power within the country. The respective norms were reviewed by the Constitutional Court from the perspective of international law, since Hungary is one of the member parties to the European Charter of Local Self-Government. This note highlights the essence of the abovementioned decision and discusses some underlying issues of allocating public tasks and funds between the governmental layers in a unitary country where the per capita revenue of local taxes is very divergent.


Gábor Kecső
Senior lecturer, ELTE Law School, Budapest; counselor, Constitutional Court of Hungary.
Article

Snapshot of the EU Soft Law Research Landscape

Main Issues and Challenges

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords soft law, normativity, bindingness, directive-like recommendations, hybridity
Authors Petra Lea Láncos
AbstractAuthor's information

    Inspired by research into international soft law norms, the last two decades have seen an intensified investigation of the non-binding measures of the EU. With the proliferation of such norms at EU level, attempts at a taxonomy of EU soft law have been undertaken. The present paper tries to map the current status of EU soft law research, highlighting possible directions for future research.


Petra Lea Láncos
Researcher, Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung, Speyer; associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

Key Factors of the Development and Renewal of the Social Market Economy in the EU

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Europe 2020 strategy, social market economy, eco-social market economy, social welfare systems, EU structural funds
Authors István Kőrösi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this study is to present the principles, strategy and operation of the social market economy, based on legal, political and economic considerations. The first social market economy, West Germany – followed by Austria, the Netherlands, as well as other countries in Northern and Western Europe –, mustered a positive overall performance from the post-World War II years to the early 1970s. Since then, however, we have been witnessing the erosion, distortion and decline of efficiency of the social market economy. There are four main issues to be addressed: (i) What are the main theoretical and conceptual, ‘eternal’ elements of the social market economy? (ii) What economic policy was built on this theoretical foundation and why did the system work well in Western Europe after World War II? (iii) What factors eroded this system? (iv) Can social market economy be renewed in the second decade of the 21st century and, if it can, what are the preconditions of it? In my analysis, I highlight some key areas: EU policies, Lisbon Agenda and Europe 2020 strategy, growth, financial disequilibria and competitiveness, innovation and employment, the relation of state and market.


István Kőrösi
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; senior research fellow, World Economic Institute of ERRC of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Article

Access_open Levying VAT in the EU Customs Union: Towards a Single Indirect Tax Area? The Ordeal of Indirect Tax Harmonisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords single indirect tax area, VAT action plan, quick fixes, e-commerce package, definitive VAT system
Authors Ben Terra
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution deals with the latest proposals regarding levying VAT in the European Union (EU) Customs Union. The present system, which has been in place since 1993 and was supposed to be transitional, splits every cross-border transaction into an exempted cross-border supply and a taxable cross-border acquisition. It is like a customs system, but lacks equivalent controls and is therefore the root of cross-border fraud. After many years of unsuccessful attempts, the Commission abandoned the objective of implementing definitive VAT arrangements based on the principle of taxing all cross-border supplies of goods in the Member State of their origin, under the same conditions that apply to domestic trade including VAT rates. The European Parliament and the Council agreed that the definitive system should be based on the principle of taxation in the Member State of the destination of the goods. After a brief discussion of the VAT Action Plan of 2016 (Section 1), the e-commerce package in the form of Directive (EU) 2017/2455 is dealt with (Section 2), followed by the proposal to harmonise and simplify certain rules in the VAT system and introduce the definitive system, only partially adopted (Section 3). Section 4 deals with the proposal to introduce detailed measures of the definitive VAT system. The proposed harmonisation and simplification of certain rules were meant to become applicable on 1 January 2019, but will become only partially applicable on 2020. It is proposed to make the detailed measures of the definitive VAT system applicable in 2022. It remains to be seen whether the Member States are willing to accept the definitive VAT system at all; hence the subtitle ‘the ordeal of indirect tax harmonisation’.


Ben Terra
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ben Terra was a professor of tax law at the universities of Amsterdam and Lund and visiting professor at the Universidade Católica in Lisbon.
Article

Access_open The Brussels International Business Court: Initial Overview and Analysis

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international jurisdiction, English, court language, Belgium, business court
Authors Erik Peetermans and Philippe Lambrecht
AbstractAuthor's information

    In establishing the Brussels International Business Court (BIBC), Belgium is following an international trend to attract international business disputes to English-speaking state courts. The BIBC will be an autonomous business court with the competence to settle, in English, disputes between companies throughout Belgium. This article focuses on the BIBC’s constitutionality, composition, competence, proceedings and funding, providing a brief analysis and critical assessment of each of these points. At the time of writing, the Belgian Federal Parliament has not yet definitively passed the Bill establishing the BIBC, meaning that amendments are still possible.


Erik Peetermans
Erik Peetermans is a legal adviser at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB).

Philippe Lambrecht
Philippe Lambrecht is the Director-Secretary General at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB).

Christopher D. Marshall
Christopher Marshall is The Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice, School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

    A decision taken by an employer based on gender which respects the national legislation was considered discriminatory based on EU legislation.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is the Managing Partner Suciu I The Employment Law Firm (https://suciu-employmentlaw.ro/).

Gabriela Ion
Gabriela Ion is an associate at Suciu I The Employment Law Firm (https://suciu-employmentlaw.ro/).
Rulings

ECJ 8 May 2019, case C-24/17, (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund), Age Discrimination

Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, Gewerkschaft Öffentlicher Dienst – v – Republik Österreich, Austrian case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2019
Keywords Age Discrimination
Abstract

    A new system of remuneration and advancement according to which the initial grading of the contractual public servants is calculated according to their last remuneration paid under the previous system of remuneration and advancement, which was based on discrimination on grounds of the age of the contractual public servants, is inconsistent with Articles 1, 2 and 6 of Directive 2000/78, read in combination with Article 21 of the Charter and inconsistent with Article 45(2) TFEU.

Rulings

ECJ 8 May 2019, case C-396/17, (Leitner), Age Discrimination

Martin Leitner – v – Landespolizeidirektion Tirol, Austrian case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2019
Keywords Age Discrimination
Abstract

    A new system of remuneration and advancement according to which the initial grading of the contractual public servants is calculated according to their last remuneration paid under the previous system of remuneration and advancement, that was based on discrimination on grounds of the age of the contractual public servants, is inconsistent with Articles 1, 2 and 6 of Directive 2000/78, read in combination with Article 21 of the Charter.
    National legislation which obstructs the effective judicial protection by reducing the scope of the review which national courts are entitled to conduct, by excluding questions concerning the basis of the transition amount, calculated according to the rules of the previous discriminatory remuneration and advancement system, is inconsistent with Article 47 of the Charter and Article 9 of Directive 2000/78.

Article

Mobile Online Dispute Resolution Tools’ Potential Applications for Government Offices

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2019
Keywords mobile online dispute resolution, MODR, ODR, computer mediated communication, dispute prevention, workplace conflict
Authors Stephanie Gustin and Norman Dolan
AbstractAuthor's information

    Online communication practices have become intrinsic to government work environments. Understanding the impact of these practices, whether they be general computer mediated communication (CMC) or specifically online dispute resolution (ODR) processes, is an essential step in supporting respectful and healthy work environments. ODR literature focuses almost exclusively on e-commerce, leaving large gaps in the body of knowledge as ODR applications diversify. Available ODR tools, which simply transpose traditional alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes online through the use of office videoconferencing systems, are not mobile and do not utilize the full capabilities of the existing technology. This article explores the potential impacts mobile ODR (MODR) tools could have on the dispute interventions and prevention initiatives in government office settings. The study used an exploratory model to establish an understanding of the experiences and needs of Canadian and Australian government employees. Findings demonstrate an interest in the introduction of education-oriented MODR tools as supplementary support with the purposes of knowledge retention and further skill development following dispute prevention training. Findings suggest that workplace attitudes towards online communication and ODR have a significant impact on the extent to which individuals successfully develop and maintain relationships either fully or partially through the use of CMC.


Stephanie Gustin
Stephanie Gustin holds an MA in Dispute Resolution from the University of Victoria, Canada.

Norman Dolan
Norman Dolan holds a PhD in Public Administration and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria, Canada.
Article

Fiscal Consolidation in Federal Belgium

Collective Action Problem and Solutions

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2019
Keywords fiscal consolidation, fiscal policy, federalism, intergovernmental relations, High Council of Finance
Authors Johanna Schnabel
AbstractAuthor's information

    Fiscal consolidation confronts federal states with a collective action problem, especially in federations with a tightly coupled fiscal regime such as Belgium. However, the Belgian federation has successfully solved this collective action problem even though it lacks the political institutions that the literature on dynamic federalism has identified as the main mechanisms through which federal states achieve cooperation across levels of government. This article argues that the regionalization of the party system, on the one hand, and the rationalization of the deficit problem by the High Council of Finance, on the other, are crucial to understand how Belgium was able to solve the collective action problem despite its tightly coupled fiscal regime and particularly high levels of deficits and debts. The article thus emphasizes the importance of compromise and consensus in reducing deficits and debts in federal states.


Johanna Schnabel
School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, Rutherford College, Canterbury CT2 7NX, United Kingdom.
Article

Transformative Welfare Reform in Consensus Democracies

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2019
Keywords consensus democracy, welfare state, social investment, transformative reform, Belgium and the Netherlands
Authors Anton Hemerijck and Kees van Kersbergen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article takes up Lijphart’s claim that consensus democracy is a ‘kinder, gentler’ form of democracy than majoritarian democracy. We zoom in on contemporary welfare state change, particularly the shift towards social investment, and argue that the kinder, gentler hypothesis remains relevant. Consensus democracies stand out in regard to the extent to which their political institutions help to overcome the politically delicate intricacies of governing for the long term. We theorize the features that can help to solve the problem of temporal commitment in democracy through processual mechanisms and illustrate these with short case studies of the contrasting welfare state reform experiences in the Netherlands and Belgium.


Anton Hemerijck
Anton Hemerijck is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy.

Kees van Kersbergen
Kees van Kersbergen is Professor of Comparative Politics at the Department of Political Science of Aarhus University, Denmark.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny of the Law against Gender-Based Violence

The Successful Story of the Cabo Verde Parliament

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords oversight, post-legislative scrutiny, Cabo Verde, parliament
Authors Elisabete Azevedo-Harman and Ricardo Godinho Gomes
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2011 Cabo Verde’s parliament approved the Law Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV). In 2014, 3 years later, the Women’s Caucus (WC) of this parliament agreed to trace the implementation of the law and its impact. This decision was taken without a clear perception of how to conduct post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) and without suspecting the eventual troubling findings. Post-legislative scrutiny has not previously been done in Cabo Verde, partly because of the inexperience of this democratic parliament, partly because PLS is a rather recent and still underdeveloped legislative activity anchored in oversight and legislation functions. In 2014 and 2015, Women’s Caucus conducted PLS of the GBV Law finding that the government had not enacted the necessary implementation rules to enforce this law, which hampered budget allocations and funding. According to the country’s legislative process this should have taken place within 10 months of the law’s approval. This study describes and discusses how the post-legislative scrutiny of the GBV Law was conducted and the lessons learned through this pioneering process in Cabo Verde’s parliament.


Elisabete Azevedo-Harman
Elisabete Azevedo-Harman is Professor on legislative and political institutions in Angolan and Mozambican universities, political advisor, international expert on parliamentary and institutional development. Currently is a senior consultant of the National Assembly of Angola.

Ricardo Godinho Gomes
Ricardo Godinho Gomes is a political scientist in the field of democratic governance since 2006 for UNDP, more specifically in electoral assistance, parliamentary strengthening and public finance management. He is a UNDP programme manager and he was the head of the management units of the project in support of electoral cycles in PALOP and Timor-Leste (2010-2013) and the Pro PALOP-TL SAI (2014-2017).
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