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M.I. Kouskouna
Assistant Professor in EU Law, Law School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
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 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 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

The Politicization of ex post Policy Evaluation in the EU

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords policy evaluation, Better Regulation, participation, REFIT, politicization
Authors Stijn Smismans
AbstractAuthor's information

    The European Commission’s 2015 Better Regulation package has placed ex post evaluation at the centre of European governance. This strengthens a trend of gradual politicization of evaluation in European policymaking. This article analyses how the European Commission’s approach to ex post policy evaluation has changed over the last decade. It shows how evaluation has developed from a rather technical process to a more politicized process, which is clearly linked to political priority setting, subject to centralized control, and involving a wider set of actors. At the same time, the Commission avoids a profound debate on the merits and objectives of the process of evaluation itself. The article concludes on the merits and risks of evaluation at times of rising populism.


Stijn Smismans
Stijn Smismans is a professor of law at the School of Law and Politics and director of the Centre for European Law and Governance at Cardiff University.
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

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

Collective Action Clauses in the Eurozone

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2014
Keywords collective action clauses (CACs), sovereign debt restructuring, Eurozone, European Stability Mechanism
Authors Giuseppe Bianco
AbstractAuthor's information

    Amongst the measures taken inside the European Union to tackle the sovereign debt crisis, the focus of the legal scholarship has been mainly on the financial stability mechanisms and the European Central Bank’s action. These initiatives constitute the liquidity assistance part of the response. Arguably, less attention has been devoted to the initiatives intended to face issues of debt sustainability. As regards the course of action to adopt in case a country cannot repay its debt, the European Union opted for collective action clauses (CACs). This paper takes a critical look at the Eurozone CACs. It aims to answer the following research question: Are the adopted CACs an efficient means to achieve their purported objective (i.e. facilitate renegotiations of sovereign bonds between creditors and the sovereign debtor)? To do so, the paper investigates the CACs’ content and their historical bases. It then compares the final version with the initial draft and points to several interesting findings. The paper argues that it is likely that practical results from the use of CACs will be significantly below political leaders’ expectations.


Giuseppe Bianco
PhD Fellow, University of Oslo – Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. He can be reached at giuseppe.bianco@jus.uio.no. The author wishes to thank Régis Bismuth, Annamaria Viterbo, and Michael Waibel. Any errors and omissions are the sole responsibility of the author.
Article

Beyond Financialisation?

Transformative Strategies for More Sustainable Financial Markets in the European Union

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2014
Keywords financialisation, financial market integration, financial reform, financial innovation, financial crisis
Authors Dieter Pesendorfer
AbstractAuthor's information

    The global financial crisis has led many regulators and lawmakers to a rethinking about current versus optimum financial market structures and activities that include a variety and even radical ideas about deleveraging and downsizing finance. This paper focuses on the flaws and shortcomings of regulatory reforms of finance and on the necessity of and scope for more radical transformative strategies. With ‘crisis economics’ back, the most developed countries, including the EU member states, are still on the edge of disaster and confronted with systemic risk. Changes in financial regulation adopted in the aftermath of the financial meltdown have not been radical enough to transform the overall system of finance-driven capitalism towards a more sustainable system with a more embedded finance. The paper discusses financialisation in order to understand the development trends in finance over the past decades and examines various theories to describe the typical trends and patterns in financial regulation. By focusing on a limited number of regulatory reforms in the European Union, the limitations of current reforms and the need for additional transformative strategies necessary to overcome the finance-driven accumulation regime are explored. Finally, the regulatory space for such transformative strategies and for taming finance in times of crisis, austerity, and increased public protest potential is analysed.


Dieter Pesendorfer
Queen’s University Belfast, School of Law, d.pesendorfer@qub.ac.uk.
Article

A Crisis Beyond Law, or a Crisis of Law?

Reflections on the European Economic Crisis

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2014
Keywords Eurozone, economic crisis, Greece, debt, Grexit
Authors Ioannis Glinavos
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper attempts to locate the place of law in debates on the economic crisis. It suggests that law is the meeting point of politics and economics, not simply the background to market operations. It is suggested therefore that the law should be seen as the conduit of the popular will through political decision making onto economic systems and processes. The paper argues that the crisis can be seen as being the consequence of the dis-embedding of the political from the economic, and it is this distance that causes legal frameworks to operate in unsatisfactory ways. With this theoretical basis, the paper examines the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. The European debt crisis in general and the plight of Greece in particular show why plasticity in policy making is necessary and also reveal why current orthodox solutions to economic calamities fail. The inflexibility of the neoclassical understanding of the state-market relationship does not allow for avenues out of crisis that are both theoretically coherent and politically welcome. Such realisations form the basis of the examination of the rules framing the Eurozone. This paper, after conducting an investigation of exit points from the Eurozone, condemns the current institutional framework of the EU, and especially the EMU as inflexible and inadequate to deal with the stress being placed on Europe by the crisis.


Ioannis Glinavos
Dr Ioannis Glinavos is Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Westminster, i.glinavos@westminster.ac.uk.
Article

Implementation of Better Regulation Measures in the Internal Security Draft Legislation

The Case of Estonia

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2014
Keywords better regulation, internal security policy, impact assessment, participation, Estonia
Authors Aare Kasemets and Annika Talmar-Pere
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article analyses the implementation of better regulation measures in the internal security (IS) strategies, draft legislation and administrative routines of the Estonian Ministry of the Interior. The article includes the results of five substudies: (a) the research problem emerged from the studies of the explanatory memoranda of draft laws 2004-2009 according to which the Ministry has some deficiencies in fulfilling the better regulation requirements; (b) mapping of better regulation and internal security policy concepts; (c) content analysis of Estonian IS strategy documents; (d) systematization of Estonian IS laws; and (e) sociological e-survey of officials. Theoretical framework integrates the concepts of institutional theory, discursive democracy, realistic legisprudence and the adaptive strategic management.The main conclusions drawn by the article are as follows: the analysis of the knowledge of draft legislation and the excessive amount of laws in the IS field gives evidence of a lack of systematic regulatory impact assessment (IA); the concept of better regulation is not integrated into IS policy documents (insufficient planning and budgeting of IA); and a sociological e-survey of the officials of the Ministry indicates discontent with the management of the IA of policies and draft legislation. According to institutional analysis, this shows readiness for changes in the context of risk society challenges and adaptation with budgetary contractions.


Aare Kasemets
Estonian Academy of Security Sciences. Email: aare.kasemets@sisekaitse.ee.

Annika Talmar-Pere
Estonian Academy of Security Sciences.
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