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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.
Public Health Emergency: National, European and International Law Responses

Defining the Common European Way of Life

Exploring the Concept of Europeanness

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords European identity, Common European Way of Life, coronavirus, European citizenship, Hungary, enlargement policy, Europeanness
Authors Lilla Nóra Kiss and Orsolya Johanna Sziebig
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article focuses on the interpretation of the European Way of Life and the concept of Europeanness. Ursula von der Leyen determined the Promotion of the European Way of Life as a priority of the 2019-2024 Commission. The purpose behind this was to strengthen European democracy and place the citizens into the center of decision-making. The article examines the role of European identity, European citizenship and those historical-traditional conditions that make our way of life ‘common’. The Common European Way of Life may be defined as a value system based on the established legal basis of EU citizenship that can be grasped in the pursuit of common principles and the exercise of rights guaranteed to all EU citizens, limited only under exceptional circumstances and ensuring socio-economic convergence. The article covers general conceptual issues but also focuses on the extraordinary impact of the COVID-19. Lastly, the relevant aspects of enlargement policy are also explored.


Lilla Nóra Kiss
Lilla Nóra Kiss: Visiting Scholar at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, Virginia, US.

Orsolya Johanna Sziebig
Orsolya Johanna Sziebig: senior lecturer, University of Szeged.
Public Health Emergency: National, European and International Law Responses

European State Aid Rules in Times of Pandemic

Distorting Competition Between European Airlines?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords state aid, air transport, airlines, COVID-19 pandemic, Ryanair
Authors Mónika Papp
AbstractAuthor's information

    The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had an immediate and profound impact on mobility and, more specifically, on air passenger transport: airlines were quickly stranded, and the Member States granted aid to air carriers subject to specific eligibility criteria. The Commission reacted swiftly to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and adopted its Temporary Framework under which vast amounts could be disbursed to market operators. The most controversial eligibility condition set by the Member States is the holding of a national license. This article’s research questions are, first, to explore the conditions under which Member States can grant large amounts of state aid to airlines, and second, to assess whether the requirement to hold a national license is compatible with EU law. By addressing these issues, this article seeks to improve our understanding of EU law’s capacity to tackle distortions of competition.


Mónika Papp
Mónika Papp: research fellow, Centre for Social Sciences, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Budapest; senior lecturer, ELTE Law School, Budapest.
Anniversary: Commemorating the 90th Birthday of Ferenc Mádl, President of the Republic (2000-2005)

Back to the Future: Ferenc Mádl, The Law of the European Economic Community (1974)

Investment Protection Then and Now

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Ferenc Mádl, investment protection, SEGRO and Horváth, Achmea, BIT
Authors Miklós Király
AbstractAuthor's information

    The first part of the article (Sections 1-2) reviews Prof. Ferenc Mádl’s magnum opus, published in 1974, emphasizing the importance of the monograph’s publication in the communist era. It discusses the unique structure of the volume, which, from the perspective of undertakings and companies, examined the fundamental economic freedoms and EEC competition law in parallel. The second part (Sections 3-5) highlights the issue of investment protection, noting that Mádl’s early academic theorem has been vindicated decades later by the case-law of the CJEU, in particular in its SEGRO and Horváth judgment: Provisions ensuring free movement of capital serve to protect foreign investments as well.


Miklós Király
Miklós Király: professor of law, ELTE Law School, Budapest.
Developments in International Law

The Sudita Keita Versus Hungary Ruling of the ECtHR and the Right to Private Life of Stateless Persons

A Long Saga Comes to an End

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords EctHR, stateless persons, right to private and family life, positive obligations of States, 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
Authors Tamás Molnár
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the case of Sudita Keita v Hungary, the ECtHR handed down a key judgment relating to statelessness. In the ruling of 12 May 2020, the ECtHR unanimously found that Hungary’s failure to ensure stability of residence for the stateless applicant for roughly 15 years amounted to a violation of his right to respect for private and family life (Article 8 ECHR). This ruling follows in the footsteps of an earlier and similar Strasbourg judgment (Hoti v Croatia), and substantiates the jurisprudential line which provides protection to stateless individuals with unsettled status using the forcefield of Article 8 ECHR. The Sudita Keita case before the ECtHR was the final chapter in a long-lasting saga that had commenced before domestic authorities and courts in Hungary, at various instances, also with the involvement of the Constitutional Court.


Tamás Molnár
Tamás Molnár: legal research officer, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Vienna; visiting lecturer of international (migration) law, Corvinus University of Budapest.
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.
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