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Developments in European Law

The PSPP Judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court

The Judge’s Theatre According to Karlsruhe

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords German Constitutional Court, basic law, ultra vires, European Central Bank, primacy of Union law
Authors Maria Kordeva
AbstractAuthor's information

    The PSPP decision of 5 May 2020 rendered by the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) does not constitute a break with the earlier jurisprudence of the FCC elaborated since the Lisbon Treaty judgment of 30 June 2009. Even though qualifying the acts of the Union as ultra vires has been likened to a warlike act, one should beware of hasty conclusions and look closely at the analysis of the Second Senate to form a moderate opinion of this decision decried by European and national commentators. Should the PSPP judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court be classified as “much ado about nothing”, despite the procedure started by the European Commission, or, on the contrary, will the CJEU in the next months, sanction Germany for its obvious affront to and breach of the principle of the primacy of Union law? The (final?) power grab between the European and national courts remains to be seen. We can criticize the German FCC that it put the fundamental principles of the Union in danger. Yet, it is worth reflecting on the possible encroachment of competences by European institutions, because, in this case, the red line between monetary policy and economic policy is more than thin.


Maria Kordeva
Maria Kordeva: PhD in Public Law (University of Strasburg/University of Constance), lecturer and research associate, Saarland University, Saarbrücken.
Developments in European Law

The First Ever Ultra Vires Judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court: PSPP

Will the Barking Dog Bite More Than Once?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords judicial dialogue, ultra vires, PSPP, German Federal Constitutional Court, infringement procedure
Authors Robert Böttner
AbstractAuthor's information

    In May 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) delivered its judgment in the PSPP case. At first it seemed that it would be a remake of the Gauweiler/OMT case between the German Court and the CJEU. Shockingly, however, the German FCC decided that not only had the ECB acted ultra vires by failing to duly justify its PSPP decision, but it also found the CJEU to have delivered an incomprehensible and objectively arbitrary judgment by which the German Court was not bound. This case note not only traces the history of the PSPP proceedings, but it also tries to review the heavy criticism that the FCC’s verdict has garnered. In the context of European integration and due to the German FCC’s authority among supreme courts in Europe, it is a dangerous precedent, that the European Commission tries to curb through infringement proceedings. One can only hope that it will be settled for good and shall remain an unfortunate but singular incident.


Robert Böttner
Robert Böttner: assistant professor of law, University of Erfurt.
Article

The Question of Jurisdiction

The Impact of Ultra Vires Decisions on the ECJ’s Normative Power and Potential Effects for the Field of Data Protection

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ECJ, German Constitutional Court, principle of proportionality, primacy of EU law, data protection, principle of conferral, ultra vires judgments
Authors Carsten M. Wulff
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ultra vires judgment of the German Constitutional Court on the debt security purchasing of the ECB system sent shockwaves throughout Europe. Some scholars see the legal framework, specifically the principle of the supremacy of the European Union in danger. This article argues that the judgment is a challenge for Luxembourg; however, there have been warning signs from the Czech Republic and Denmark that constitutional courts will not shy away from criticizing, when the ECJ oversteps its jurisdiction. The author argues that the judgment may weaken the overall normative power of the court and will assess whether a similar judgment could occur in the field of data protection and national security exceptions. The only way back to normality will be for the court to ensure it does not overstep its jurisdiction and the European Institutions unconditionally backing the ECJ in the expected upcoming conflict with the constitutional courts of Member States.


Carsten M. Wulff
PhD Student, Tallinn University, Estonia.
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

The CETA Investment Court and EU External Autonomy

Did Opinion 1/17 Broaden the EU’s Room for Maneuver in External Relations?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords EU investment treaties, investment arbitration, EU external relations, EU treaty-making capacity, level of protection of public policy interests
Authors Wolfgang Weiss
AbstractAuthor's information

    The present contribution analyzes Opinion 1/17 of the CJEU on CETA, which, in a surprisingly uncritical view of conceivable conflicts between the competences of the CETA Investment Tribunal on the one hand and those of the CJEU on the other hand, failed to raise any objections. First reactions welcomed this opinion as an extension of the EU’s room for maneuver in investment protection. The investment court system under CETA, however, is only compatible with EU law to a certain extent. This was made clear by the Court in the text of the opinion, and the restrictions identified are likely to confine the leeway for EU external contractual relations. Owing to their fundamental importance, these restrictions, inferred by the CJEU from the autonomy of the Union legal order form the core of this contribution. In what follows, the new emphasis in the CETA Opinion on the external autonomy of Union law will be analyzed first (Section 2). Subsequently, the considerations of the CJEU regarding the delimitation of its competences from those of the CETA Tribunal will be critically examined. The rather superficial analysis of the CJEU in the CETA Opinion stands in stark contrast to its approach in earlier decisions as it misjudges problems, only seemingly providing for a clear delimitation of competences (Section 3). This is followed by an exploration of the last part of the CJEU’s autonomy analysis, in which the CJEU tries to respond to the criticism of regulatory chill (Section 4). Here, by referring to the unimpeded operation of EU institutions in accordance with the EU constitutional framework, the CJEU identifies the new restrictions for investment protection mechanisms just mentioned. With this, the CJEU takes back the earlier comprehensive affirmation of the CETA Tribunal’s jurisdiction with regard to calling into question the level of protection of public interests determined by the EU legislative, which raises numerous questions about its concrete significance, consequence, and scope of application.


Wolfgang Weiss
Wolfgang Weiss: professor of law, German University of Administrative Sciences, Speyer.
Article

National Courts and the Enforcement of EU Law

Hungarian Experiences

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, supremacy, mutual trust, constitutional identity, preliminary ruling
Authors András Osztovits and András Zs. Varga
AbstractAuthor's information

    The present study was originally meant for the FIDE XXIX Congress, which provided an excellent opportunity to review how the acquis communautaire has been implemented by ordinary courts as well as the Constitutional Court of Hungary since the country’s accession to the EU. As it is widely known, national courts play a key role in enforcing rights and obligations under EU law, so that the application of EU law remains uniform in all the Member States, in compliance with the jurisprudence of the CJEU. On the other hand, national constitutional courts must take a position more frequently and emphatically on issues related to national sovereignty: in defining what comes within the scope of the EU’s legislative competence and what remains under the control of national constitutional and legislative power. The relationship between national ordinary courts, constitutional courts and the CJEU, as well as the national implementation of Luxembourg case-law may be analyzed in a variety of ways and from different perspectives. The main principles governing EU law (such as direct effect, supremacy, mutual trust) have been developed in increasing detail over the years. Since their effect and practical consequences are outstanding, in what follows, we are shall explore these issues first in the light of Hungarian case-law. In the context of the principle of mutual trust, the discussion surrounding the independence of national courts is gaining impetus. Therefore, we will also touch upon this issue in our study. Finally, as far as the issue of effective enforcement of EU law is concerned, we shall present the Hungarian experience related to the preliminary ruling procedure, which is the most important element linking the CJEU and national courts. In this respect, we approach the issue from the domestic angle, focusing primarily on how exceptions to the obligation to submit a request for preliminary ruling have been clarified on the basis of the guidelines of the Curia of Hungary and the Constitutional Court of Hungary.


András Osztovits
András Osztovits: professor of law, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church, Budapest; judge, Curia of Hungary, Budapest.

András Zs. Varga
András Zs. Varga: professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
Article

Challenges Arising From the Multi-Level Character of EU Citizenship

The Legal Analysis of the Delvigne and Tjebbes Cases

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Union citizenship, supranational status, voting rights in the European Parliament elections, dual citizenship, loss of citizenship
Authors Laura Gyeney
AbstractAuthor's information

    Studies on the relationship between EU citizenship and Member State legal orders speak either of the loss of control over national sovereignty or, on the contrary, the judicial deconstruction of Union citizenship. These firm positions on how EU citizenship should be perceived fit well with the two markedly different mindsets represented in legal literature: while representatives of the federalist view envision a politically integrated, supranational community behind the treaty provisions on EU citizenship, sovereignists oppose the extension of EU powers via judicial interpretation tooth and nail. This study aims to find an answer to the question whether the CJEU, in its latest judgments on EU citizenship issues, has succeeded in consolidating the constitutional basis of EU citizenship in a way that is reassuring for Member States, i.e. by respecting the principle of conferral. In this respect, it may be established that in both cases analyzed below, such as the Delvigne and Tjebbes cases, the CJEU made well-balanced decisions keeping EU as well as Member State interests in mind, which, although has brought no substantial progress in the process of recognizing EU citizenship as an autonomous status, makes efforts to consolidate the fundamental characteristic thereof.


Laura Gyeney
Laura Gyeney: associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

European Citizens’ Initiatives for the Protection and Promotion of Rights and Interests of National Minorities

Latest Developments

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords European Citizens’ Initiative, national minorities, Minority SafePack, cohesion policy, participatory democracy
Authors Balázs Tárnok
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper examines the latest developments in the two minority-related European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECI), the Minority SafePack Initiative and the Cohesion Policy Initiative (ECI on National Minority Regions). A key theoretical question of this paper is whether the ECI can be seen as an effective tool for the protection and promotion of the rights and interests of national minorities in the EU. The paper presents the most recent judgments of the General Court and the CJEU related to these ECIs. The Courts made important statements in terms of the admissibility criteria of ECIs, as well the possibility to propose EU legislation aiming to increase the protection of persons belonging to national and linguistic minorities. The paper also investigates the experiences of the signature collection campaign of the Cohesion Policy Initiative and the current status of the Minority SafePack Initiative in the examination phase. Finally, the paper aims to set up a prognosis on the future of these ECIs, taking into consideration the Commission’s latest proposal on the extension of the ECI deadlines.


Balázs Tárnok
Balázs Tárnok: junior research fellow, National University of Public Service, Europe Strategy Research Institute, Budapest; PhD candidate, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
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.

    The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia has ruled that provisions of the Law on Higher Education Institutions stipulating that professors and associate professors are elected to the office for a fixed period of time, i.e. for six years, and that only fixed-term employment contracts are to be concluded with them are not compatible with the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia (Latvijas Republikas Satversme) (the ‘Constitution’), which among other things provides that everyone has the right to freely choose their employment and workplace according to their abilities and qualifications. The restriction of this right in this case cannot be regarded as proportionate since the legislator has failed to implement the requirements of the Fixed-term Work Directive 99/70/EC.


Andis Burkevics
Andis Burkevics is a counsel with SORAINEN.
Article

Access_open Mobile Individualism: The Subjectivity of EU Citizenship

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Individualism, EU Citizenship, Depoliticisation, Mobile Individualism, Citizenship and Form of Life
Authors Aristel Skrbic
AbstractAuthor's information

    The central aim of this article is to analyse the manner in which the legal structure of EU citizenship subjectifies Union citizens. I begin by explicating Alexander Somek’s account of individualism as a concept which captures EU citizenship and propose to update his analysis by coining the notion of mobile individualism. By looking at a range of CJEU’s case law on EU citizenship through the lens of the purely internal rule and the transnational character of EU citizenship, I suggest that movement sits at the core of EU citizenship. In order to adequately capture this unique structure of citizenship, we need a concept of individualism which takes movement rather than depoliticisation as its central object of analysis. I propose that the notion of mobile individualism can best capture the subjectivity of a model EU citizen, a citizen who is a-political due to being mobile.


Aristel Skrbic
Aristel Skrbic is a PhD candidate and teaching and research assistant at the Institute of Philosophy at the KU Leuven.

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

János Martonyi
Professor emeritus, University of Szeged; former Minister of Foreign Affairs (1998-2002 and 2010-2014).
Article

Access_open Sustainable Enjoyment of Economic and Social Rights in Times of Crisis

Obstacles to Overcome and Bridges to Cross

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2018
Keywords social and economic rights, austerity measures, Euro crisis, defaulting countries
Authors Dr. Natalie Alkiviadou
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2008, the European Union was hit by the most severe financial downturn since the Great Recession of the 1930s. One of the major consequences of this phenomenon was the deterioration in the enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic and social rights. While it is indisputable that the crisis itself was directly correlated to the erosion of such rights, the conditions attached to the loan agreements between defaulting countries and the three lending institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank and the European Commission, have negatively affected the rights under consideration. Loans came with strict austerity measures, such as public expenditure cuts in the realm of, inter alia, public services, benefits and social security. This article considers the deterioration in the enjoyment of economic and social rights by Union inhabitants and particularly the anti-crisis strategy adopted by the European Union, which, as will be demonstrated, directly contributed to this deterioration. The stance of the three institutions was facilitated by the less than proactive, but improving, positioning of the Court of Justice of the European Union in case law, which will be assessed. It must be noted that it is not the three institutions acting alone in this process; the Member States are the ones who agree to the loans and their conditions and implement austerity measures on the ground. However, as will be reflected, the practical role and actual input of the countries themselves in this procedure is limited. The central theoretical tenet of the article is that the European Union is re-shifting its direction to the almost absolute adoption of an economic constitution, with little regard to its social counterpart. Within the aforementioned framework, this article seeks to assess the status of economic and social rights in a crisis-hit Union, provide a theoretical explanation for this occurrence and put forth possibilities for positive change, placing the protection and promotion of economic and social rights at the heart of any responses to crisis as a method to ensure their sustainable protection effectively.


Dr. Natalie Alkiviadou
Dr Natalie Alkiviadou is a Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus.
Article

The Margin of Appreciation in the ECtHR’s Case Law

A European Version of the Levels of Scrutiny Doctrine?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords ECHR, judicial deference, levels of scrutiny, margin of appreciation, U.S. federalism
Authors Koen Lemmens
AbstractAuthor's information

    Although the American doctrine of levels of scrutiny and the European concept of margin of appreciation are regularly compared as typical instances of deferential judicial decision-making, this article argues that owing to the institutional setting in which they operate, the differences between the two are notable. It is also argued that the social consequences of the application of the two concepts may even be radically opposed.


Koen Lemmens
Associate professor of Public Law at KU Leuven (Belgium) and press law VU Brussels (Belgium). The author thanks Toon Agten for his comments and Camille Van Peteghem for her assistance during research. The usual disclaimer applies. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

Rights in the Australian Federation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords Australian Constitution, bill of rights, constitutional rights, democracy, federalism, freedom of interstate trade, freedom of religion, implied rights, judicial independence, property rights, right to trial by jury, separation of powers
Authors Nicholas Aroney and James Stellios
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Australian Constitution is unique among constitutional instruments. It was primarily designed to federate self-governing British colonies within the British constitutional tradition and to establish institutions of federal government. As such, the constitutional instrument does not contain an entrenched bill of rights. Yet Australia has been a stable federal democracy since its establishment in 1901 and, by international standards, it is consistently assessed as maintaining high levels of personal freedom, political rights, civil liberties and the rule of law. This article considers the place of rights in the Australian federation against Australian constitutional history and its constitutional context.


Nicholas Aroney
Nicholas Aroney is Professor of Constitutional Law, The University of Queensland. The support of Australian Research Council grant FT100100469 is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are also due to Terry East for his very capable research assistance. James Stellios is Professor, Law School, Australian National University. Part of this article benefited from the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme: DP140101218. Part of this article benefited from the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme: DP140101218. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.

James Stellios
Article

The Harmonization Potential of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords application of EU law, Article 51 of the Charter, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, Court of Justice, jurisdiction of the Court of Justice, market freedoms, spontaneous harmonization
Authors Filippo Fontanelli and Amedeo Arena
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses two underrated and connected aspects that determine the applicability of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights to Member State measures. First, the Charter can be a decisive standard of review for domestic measures only when they are covered by EU law but are not precluded by it. In this respect, the distinction between non-preclusion and non-application of EU law has been overlooked by legal scholarship. Second, because the scope of application of EU law and that of the Charter are identical, the latter suffers from the same uncertainties as the former. This article concludes that the entry into force of the Charter has exposed the blurred contours of the application of EU law, in particular in the area of the market freedoms. As a result, a certain spontaneous harmonization of human rights protection has emerged.


Filippo Fontanelli
Respectively, Senior Lecturer in International Economic Law, University of Edinburgh; and Associate Professor, Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘Federico II’. The work is the outcome of both authors’collaboration. Amedeo Arena drafted sections A to C, Filippo Fontanelli drafted sections D to G.

Amedeo Arena
A previous version of this work appeared in M. Andenas, T. Bekkedal & L. Pantaleo (Eds.), The Reach of Free Movement, Springer, TMC Asser Press, 2017, p. 293-312. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.

    From the inception of European integration, a regime trying to regulate and arrange competition as much as considered necessary for the benefit of society at large has been one of the core elements of the European Union’s legal order. While the European Union has over the past few decades become more and more involved in the European space effort, this has so far hardly given rise to fundamental application of this competition regime to space activities, even if space also in Europe increasingly has become commercialized and privatized. The current paper investigates the reasons and rationale for this special situation, addressing inter alia the special character of outer space activities and the space industry and the role of the European Space Agency in this respect.


Frans G. von der Dunk
University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Article

Access_open Legal Legitimacy of Tax Recommendations Delivered by the IMF in the Context of ‘Article IV Consultations’

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords legitimacy, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Article IV Consultations, tax recommendations, global tax governance
Authors Sophia Murillo López
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution examines the legal legitimacy of ‘Article IV Consultations’ performed by the IMF as part of its responsibility for surveillance under Article IV of its Articles of Agreement. The analysis focuses on tax recommendations given by the Fund to its member countries in the context of Consultations. This paper determines that these tax recommendations derive from a broad interpretation of the powers and obligations that have been agreed to in the Fund’s Articles of Agreement. Such an interpretation leads to a legitimacy deficit, as member countries of the Fund have not given their state consent to receive recommendations as to which should be the tax policies it should adopt.


Sophia Murillo López
Sophia Murillo López, LL.M, is an external PhD candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and a member of the ‘Fiscal Autonomy and its Boundaries’ research programme.

Veronika Kéri
PhD student, Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Law.

Zoltán Pozsár-Szentmiklósy
Assistant Professor, Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Law.
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