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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

Constitutional Resilience and Unamendability

Amendment Powers as Mechanisms of Constitutional Resilience

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords constitutional change, constitutional resilience, unamendability, constitutional identity
Authors Xenophon Contiades and Alkmene Fotiadou
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article aims to explore the relationship between unamendability and constitutional resilience. Inspired by Roznai’s theory on the limits of amendment powers, this article seeks to examine how such limits may function as a mechanism of constitutional resilience exploring how unamendability may impact the resilience of a constitution, allowing it to withstand crises while retaining its core functions. The key question is whether entrenchment enhances resilience through its protective shield or, by contrast, fetters resilience by foreclosing adaptability – what does not bend often breaks. The complex relationship between unamendability and constitutional resilience unfolds in the context of different amendment patterns.


Xenophon Contiades
Xenophon Contiades is Professor of Public Law, Panteion University; Managing Director of the Centre for European Constitutional Law, Athens, Greece.

Alkmene Fotiadou
Alkmene Fotiadou is Research Fellow, Centre for European Constitutional Law.
Article

Constitutional Narcissism on the Couch of Psychoanalysis

Constitutional Unamendability in Portugal and Spain

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords unamendable/ eternity clauses, de jure and de facto constitutional change, constitutional narcissism, foundational design, helicopter founding fathers, constitutional alma mater
Authors Catarina Santos Botelho
AbstractAuthor's information

    Comparing the Portuguese Constitution, which has the longest unamendable clause in the world, with the silence of the Spanish Constitution regarding the language of eternity is indeed a fascinating exercise. Each state’s quantum of constitutional change seems to be quite different. One can wonder how two neighbouring states that share a heavy history of right-wing dictatorships and transitioned to democracy forty years ago opted for such dissimilar constitutional designs. However, appearances are often misleading, and an effort should be done to unveil this curious mismatch.
    Both legal orders suffer from what I call constitutional narcissism, which manifests itself through the urge to perpetuate the foundational constitutional moment. Unamendable clauses (Portugal) and quasi-unamendable clauses (Spain) recast one of constitutional theory’s inner paradoxes: Can the constituent power of the people be petrified in one historical constituent decision and constrain future democratic transitions? And what if a volatile contemporary majority seeks to undermine the democratic process and run against the constitutional DNA achievements of the last centuries?
    Even if the original version of the Portuguese Constitution prohibited several provisions from ever being amended, some of these provisions were indeed modified or removed in the 1989 constitutional amendment process. This occurred without major disagreement from the political organs, scholars, or the judiciary. Therefore, the vexata quaestio remains unanswered: Given their obsolescence or hindrance towards good governance, should entrenchment clauses be eliminated de jure (through a channelled constitutional amendment process, such as the double amendment procedure) or de facto (through a revolutionary process materialized outside of the constitutional framework)?


Catarina Santos Botelho
Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Constitutional Law at the Porto Faculty of Law, Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Email: cbotelho@porto.ucp.pt. I thank Paul Kahn, Nuno Garoupa, Richard Albert, Gonçalo Almeida Ribeiro, Yaniv Roznai, Ana Teresa Ribeiro, and Luís Heleno Terrinha for their very helpful comments.
Literature review

Consensualism, Democratic Satisfaction, Political Trust and the Winner-Loser Gap

State of the Art of Two Decades of Research

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2019
Keywords consensualism, majoritarianism, political trust, satisfaction with democracy, Lijphart
Authors Tom van der Meer and Anna Kern
AbstractAuthor's information

    Lijphart (1999) argued that citizens tend to be more satisfied with democracy in consensual democracies than in majoritarian democracies and that the gap in democratic satisfaction between the winners and the losers of elections is smaller under consensualism. Twenty years on since then, this article takes stock of the literature on consensualism and political support. We find considerable ambiguity in the theoretical arguments and empirical evidence provided in this literature. Finally, we speculate on possible reasons for this ambiguity.


Tom van der Meer
Tom van der Meer, University of Amsterdam.

Anna Kern
Anna Kern, Ghent University.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of German Ships (and by German Companies)

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords German maritime security, private armed security, privately contracted armed security personnel, anti-piracy-measures, state oversight
Authors Tim R. Salomon
AbstractAuthor's information

    Germany reacted to the rise of piracy around the Horn of Africa not only by deploying its armed forces to the region, but also by overhauling the legal regime concerning private security providers. It introduced a dedicated licensing scheme mandatory for German maritime security providers and maritime security providers wishing to offer their services on German-flagged vessels. This legal reform resulted in a licensing system with detailed standards for the internal organisation of a security company and the execution of maritime security services. Content wise, the German law borrows broadly from internationally accepted standards. Despite deficits in state oversight and compliance control, the licensing scheme sets a high standard e.g. by mandating that a security team must consist of a minimum of four security guards. The lacking success of the scheme suggested by the low number of companies still holding a license may be due to the fact that ship-owners have traditionally been reluctant to travel high-risk areas under the German flag. Nevertheless, the German law is an example of a national regulation that has had some impact on the industry at large.


Tim R. Salomon
The author is a legal adviser to the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) and currently seconded to the German Federal Constitutional Court.
Article

The Sovereign Strikes Back

A Judicial Perspective on Multi-Layered Constitutionalism in Europe

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords Constitutional identity, constitutionalism, fragmentation, globalization, multilayered constitution, sovereignty, trust
Authors Renáta Uitz and András Sajó
AbstractAuthor's information

    The supranational web of public law is often described as a new constitutionalism. It emerged in a globalized world together with global markets. In the course of the multilayered constitutional experiment, the old, national constitutional framework had lost its ability to deliver on the key features associated with constitutionalism: limiting the exercise of political powers and preventing the arbitrary exercise thereof. In the multilayered era it has become difficult to pinpoint the centre of authority. Ultimately, someone needs to govern, if not for other reasons, at least to avoid chaos. Is it possible to have the guarantees of freedom, rule of law and efficiency that a constitutional democracy seems to provide in a system where there is no sovereign with authority?


Renáta Uitz
Renáta Uitz is Professor, Chair of the Comparative Constitutional Law Program, Department of Legal Studies, Central European University, Budapest.

András Sajó
András Sajo is University Professor, Central European University, Budapest. 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

Access_open Belgium and Democratic Constitution-Making: Prospects for the Future?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2017
Keywords constitutional change, democracy, participation, Belgium
Authors Ronald Van Crombrugge
Abstract

    How constitutions are changed – and more importantly: how they should be changed – is the subject of ongoing debate. There seems to be a growing consensus, however, that in order for a constitution to be considered legitimate it is required that it was created through a democratic process. This growing consensus stands in sharp contrast with the Belgian experience of constitutional change as an essentially elite-led process that takes place behind closed doors. This article seeks to explore the possibilities for more democratic forms of constitutional change in Belgium. It does so by evaluating and comparing two examples of democratic constitution-making, namely the constitution-making processes In South Africa (1996) and Iceland (2012). On the basis of these two examples, several concrete suggestions will be made, which are not only relevant for the Belgian case but can be applied more broadly to other countries as well.


Ronald Van Crombrugge
Article

Access_open Exit, Voice and Loyalty from the Perspective of Hedge Funds Activism in Corporate Governance

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Uncertainty, entrepreneurship, agency costs, loyalty shares, institutional investors
Authors Alessio M. Pacces
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses hedge funds activism based on Hirschman’s classic. It is argued that hedge funds do not create the loyalty concerns underlying the usual short-termism critique of their activism, because the arbiters of such activism are typically indexed funds, which cannot choose short-term exit. Nevertheless, the voice activated by hedge funds can be excessive for a particular company. Furthermore, this article claims that the short-termism debate cannot shed light on the desirability of hedge funds activism. Neither theory nor empirical evidence can tell whether hedge funds activism leads to short-termism or long-termism. The real issue with activism is a conflict of entrepreneurship, namely a conflict between the opposing views of the activists and the incumbent management regarding in how long an individual company should be profitable. Leaving the choice between these views to institutional investors is not efficient for every company at every point in time. Consequently, this article argues that regulation should enable individual companies to choose whether to curb hedge funds activism depending on what is efficient for them. The recent European experience reveals that loyalty shares enable such choice, even in the midstream, operating as dual-class shares in disguise. However, loyalty shares can often be introduced without institutional investors’ consent. This outcome could be improved by allowing dual-class recapitalisations, instead of loyalty shares, but only with a majority of minority vote. This solution would screen for the companies for which temporarily curbing activism is efficient, and induce these companies to negotiate sunset clauses with institutional investors.


Alessio M. Pacces
Professor of Law & Finance, Erasmus School of Law, and Research Associate, European Corporate Governance Institute.
Article

Access_open Keck in Capital? Redefining ‘Restrictions’ in the ‘Golden Shares’ Case Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Keck, selling arrangements, market access, golden shares, capital
Authors Ilektra Antonaki
AbstractAuthor's information

    The evolution of the case law in the field of free movement of goods has been marked by consecutive changes in the legal tests applied by the Court of Justice of the European Union for the determination of the existence of a trade restriction. Starting with the broad Dassonville and Cassis de Dijon definition of MEEQR (measures having equivalent effect to a quantitative restriction), the Court subsequently introduced the Keck-concept of ‘selling arrangements’, which allowed for more regulatory autonomy of the Member States, but proved insufficient to capture disguised trade restrictions. Ultimately, a refined ‘market access’ test was adopted, qualified by the requirement of a ‘substantial’ hindrance on inter-State trade. Contrary to the free movement of goods, the free movement of capital has not undergone the same evolutionary process. Focusing on the ‘golden shares’ case law, this article questions the broad interpretation of ‘capital restrictions’ and seeks to investigate whether the underlying rationale of striking down any special right that could have a potential deterrent effect on inter-State investment is compatible with the constitutional foundations of negative integration. So far the Court seems to promote a company law regime that endorses shareholders’ primacy, lacking, however, the constitutional and institutional legitimacy to decide on such a highly political question. It is thus suggested that a refined test should be adopted that would capture measures departing from ordinary company law and hindering market access of foreign investors, while at the same time allowing Member States to determine their corporate governance systems.


Ilektra Antonaki
Ilektra Antonaki, LL.M., is a PhD candidate at Leiden University, The Netherlands.

    Statutory interpretation is quickly becoming the primary function of our courts. Ambiguity, unexpected scenarios, and drafting errors in legislation compound this challenging task, obliging many judges to turn to debate transcripts and other legislative materials in search of our elected representatives’ intent.
    Legislatures are intrinsically the products of the societies that create them, however, with each possessing a diverging structure and rules of procedure. These institutional differences affect bills’ drafting, consideration, and passage, and represent the mechanical process of how legislative bargains are translated into binding statutory text.
    Through the lenses of the United Kingdom Parliament and the United States Congress, the fundamental logic behind these institutions’ legislative bargains will be explored, assessing the impact of procedure and the interests that shape the enacting process. Parliamentary tradition emphasizes the foundational role of Her Majesty’s Government in managing virtually all legislation, maintaining a unity of purpose without compromise, amendment, or purposefully ambiguous provisions. Conversely, unique procedures and the multiplicity of veto players within Congress necessitates that compromise is a de facto requirement for passage. The diverging logic behind these legislative bargains offers powerful evidence that institutional characteristics have a dispositive impact on the utility of legislative materials in statutory interpretation.


Chris Land
Juris Doctor Student, 2016, University of Minnesota Law School. LL.M., with distinction, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London; B.S., summa cum laude, Florida State University.

    To ensure its continued viability, the International Criminal Court must find “practical” ways to appeal to its African (and global) audience, options that do not require substantial additional funding or revisions to the Rome Statute while remaining true to fundamental principles of international justice. Subject to such limitations, this article examines the “end product” of the ICC – the judgments authored by the Trial Chambers to date. Unfortunately, these opinions are simply incomprehensible to any but a few specially trained, highly interested stakeholders. They are extraordinarily complex and lengthy and fail to emphasize or address issues that are clearly important to the audiences in states where atrocities have occurred. The article reviews existing judgments and provides suggestions for future improvements, thereby increasing accessibility to African leadership, civil society organizations, and the public at large. Such efforts will contribute to increased legitimacy and, consequently, the long-term impact and relevancy of the Court.


Matthew C. Kane
Matthew C. Kane is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, teaching courses on criminal law, torts, and international and comparative criminal law. He also serves a director and shareholder of Ryan Whaley Coldiron Jantzen Peters & Webber PLLC, concentrating on criminal and complex civil law matters. Special thanks to The Hague University of Applied Sciences, which organized the conference “Africans and Hague Justice,” where this paper was originally presented.
Article

Access_open Revisiting China’s Merger Control

Where Are We Going After the Three-Year Milestone?

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 1 2013
Keywords anti-monopoly law, merger control, competition effect
Authors Xinzhu Zhang and Vanessa Yanhua Zhang
AbstractAuthor's information

    After three years of enforcement of the Anti-Monopoly Law, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has issued its own merger review guidelines and regulations. It has also published the decisions of eleven cases that were either blocked or approved with conditions. In this paper we review China’s rules for the implementation of merger control and analyze the patterns and implications from the recent case decisions. We find that although China’s merger control policy is largely consistent with international practice in many respects, there are still a few areas where China’s practice differs from those in other jurisdictions. These differences and their implications are analyzed in the article.


Xinzhu Zhang
Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang China and Research Center for Regulation and Competition, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China. Email: xzzhang@public.bta.net.cn.

Vanessa Yanhua Zhang
Renmin University of China, Beijing, China and Global Economics Group, Beijing and New York. Email: vzhang@globaleconomicsgroup.com.
Research Note

Vetospelers en kieshervorming in België

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2011
Authors Marc Hooghe and Kris Deschouwer
Author's information

Marc Hooghe
Marc Hooghe is gewoon hoogleraar Politieke Wetenschappen aan de KU Leuven en Visiting Professor aan de Universiteiten van Lille-II en Mannheim. Hij publiceert vooral over politieke participatie en politiek vertrouwen.

Kris Deschouwer
Kris Deschouwer is onderzoeksprofessor in de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Hij werkt over politieke partijen, verkiezingen, federalisme en regionalisme en politieke besluitvorming in verdeelde samenlevingen.

Timothy Sir Garden
Professor Sir Timothy Garden is a former British 3 star air force officer, who is now at the Centre for Defence Studies in London. He has been teaching at Indiana University, Bloomington, as the 2004 Wells Professor.

Diana Bozhilova
Department of European Studies, King's College London, Strand WC2R 2LS, UK, Correspondence: diana.bojilova@kcl.ac.uk.
Article

Access_open Techno-regulation and law: rule, exception or state of exception?

A comment to Han Somsen and Luigi Corrias

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2011
Keywords code, citizenship, trans-generational justice, agency, ethics and politics
Authors Oliver W. Lembcke
AbstractAuthor's information

    Luigi Corrias challenged Han Somsen’s plea for an effective regulation in the wake of an impending ecological catastrophe. This article takes up some of the arguments that have been exchanged: First, the paper criticises Corrias’s call for an ‘eco-logos’ as an ethical evasion of the political dimension that regulations aiming at a radical policy change necessarily entail. Secondly, it disputes the assumption that Somsen’s argument invites the notion of Carl Schmitt’s state of exception. Thirdly, the paper discusses the possible effects that code law might have on the concepts of agency (lack of autonomy) and citizenship (loss of justice).


Oliver W. Lembcke
Oliver W. Lembcke is Associate Professor of Political Theory at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena.
Article

The Politics of Demand for Law: The Case of Ukraine’s Company Law Reform

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3-4 2010
Keywords company law, Ukraine, legislative process, veto players, external pressures
Authors Dr. Rilka Dragneva and Dr. Antoaneta Dimitrova
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explores the dynamics between external and domestic factors in legal reform in transition countries as demonstrated by the case of Ukrainian company law reform. Contrary to theoretical explanations pointing to the primacy of external supply and incentives, we locate the determinants of legal change firmly in the domestic arena. We conceptualise domestic factors using a political science framework regarding the role of veto players parliamentary factions and related informal business actors. The analysis supports the critical law and development literature in underlying the importance of the demand for law by such players. This demand, however, affects not just the implementation process but is critically expressed in the strategic use of formal legislative reform.


Dr. Rilka Dragneva
Rilka Dragneva is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the School of Law of University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

Dr. Antoaneta Dimitrova
Antoaneta Dimitrova is a Senior Lecturer at Institute for Public Administration at Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Essay

Naar een nieuw malgoverno?

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 2009
Authors Steven Van Hecke and Wim Heylen
Author's information

Steven Van Hecke
Steven Van Hecke (°1974) promoveerde tot doctor in de sociale wetenschappen aan de K.U.Leuven. Momenteel is hij verbonden aan het Departement Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Antwerpen. Hij doceert vergelijkende en Europese politiek aan de Universiteit Antwerpen en de K.U.Leuven en doet onderzoek op het raakvlak tussen beide subdomeinen van de politieke wetenschap, in het bijzonder Europese politieke partijen.

Wim Heylen
Wim Heylen (°1984) is licentiaat geschiedenis en volgde de lerarenopleiding aan de K.U.Leuven. Hij werkt momenteel als leerkracht geschiedenis in het Paridaensinstituut te Leuven.
Article

Updating the Outer Space Treaty: A U.S. Perspective

Weaponisation of Outer Space in the Light of the Outer Space Treaty

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 3 2008
Authors S.M.D. Day

S.M.D. Day

    This article explains Belgium’s European policy regarding the CAP reforms of 1992 (MacSharry Reforms) and 2003 (Mid Term Review). It addresses the question whether this policy has changed and, if so, what the conditions of policy change are. We argue that Belgium has a two-track policy regarding the CAP reforms. The first track has a conservatist content, stating that Belgium is not in favour of the proposed reforms. The second track is a the more reformist one, given the untenability of the CAP in the light of the simultaneous global GATT, WTO and/or enlargement negotiations. It is argued that the political colour of the Agriculture Minister influences partly the first track, while the relative importance of the global negotiations over the CAP reform negotiations affects the second track. Moreover, we conclude that the involvement of the Flemish and Walloon Region has not led to a deadlock in the internal policy-making process in Belgium.


Tom Delreux
Aspirant van het FWO-Vlaanderen, Instituut voor Internationaal en Europees Beleid, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
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