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Article

A New Aspect of the Cross-Border Acquisition of Agricultural Lands

The Inícia Case Before the ICSID

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ICSID, investment law, free movement of capital, land tenure, land law
Authors János Ede Szilágyi and Tamás Andréka
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Inícia case concluded at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on 13 November 2019 shows that international arbitration institutions may have a significant role even in the EU Member States’ disputes concerning the cross-border acquisition of agricultural lands. Taking the regulation concerning cross-border acquisition into consideration, the last decade was extremely eventful: (i) Following the expiration of transitional periods, the new Member States were obliged to adopt new, EU law-conform national rules concerning the cross-border acquisition of agricultural lands. (ii) The European Commission began to generally and comprehensively assess the national land law of the new Member States. (iii) The FAO issued the Voluntary Guidelines on the ‘Responsible Governance of Tenure of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security’ (VGGT), which is the first comprehensive, global instrument on this topic elaborated in the framework of intergovernmental negotiations. (iv) Several legal documents, which can be regarded as soft law, concerning the acquisition of agricultural lands have been issued by certain institutions of the EU; these soft law documents at EU level are as rare as the VGGT at international level. (v) The EU initiated numerous international investment treaties, regulations of which also affect numerous aspects of the cross-border acquisition of agricultural lands. (vi) The Brexit and its effect on the cross-border acquisition of agricultural lands is also an open issue. Taking the above-mentioned development into consideration, the Inícia case may have a significant role in the future of the cross-border transaction among EU Member States and beyond.


János Ede Szilágyi
János Ede Szilágyi: professor of law, University of Miskolc; director, Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7938-6860.

Tamás Andréka
Tamás Andréka: head of Department for Legislation, Ministry of Agriculture; PhD student, University of Miskolc.
Article

Participation in the European Public Prosecutor’s Office

Member States’ Autonomous Decision or an Obligation?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords European Public Prosecutor’s Office, EPPO, OLAF, European criminal law, Eurojust
Authors Ádám Békés
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of the present study is to examine recent developments concerning the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), focusing on the conflict between the EU and the Member States not participating in the enhanced cooperation setting up the Prosecutor’s Office. To provide an overall picture about EPPO’s future operational relations, the study first presents the EPPO’s future cooperation with other EU bodies and draws some critical conclusions. Based on these reflections, the study aims to discuss the EU’s alleged intention and strategy to cope with and solve the problem of non-participating Member States, assessing the probable role of the Prosecutor’s Office and other related EU bodies, institutions and legal measures in this struggle, while also considering recent declarations of the leaders of EU institutions.


Ádám Békés
Ádám Békés: associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; attorney-at-law.
Article

The Protection of the Right to Local Self-Government in the Practice of the Hungarian Constitutional Court

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords right to local self-government, protected powers, European Charter of Local Self-Government, Hungary, Constitutional Court of Hungary
Authors Ádám Varga
AbstractAuthor's information

    A specific trait of local self-governments is that they exercise public power, while public power is also exercised against them. This means that those functions and powers that are obligations on the side of local self-governments, can be construed as rights against central public bodies. For this reason, the protection of the right to local self-government is a priority. The Charter of Local Self-Government takes the view that the autonomy of local self-governments shall be guaranteed against central public bodies. It is necessary to establish a legal framework which ensures that strong central public bodies cannot enforce their own political or professional preferences against the will of local communities with different political or professional beliefs. In my opinion, the central issue, also in Hungary, is that local self-governments are entitled to the protection of the Constitutional Court. Decision No. 3311/2019. (XI. 21.) AB sets out that local self-governments are entitled to turn to the Constitutional Court in their own right by submitting a constitutional complaint if the law violates their rights guaranteed in the Fundamental Law (including powers enshrined in the Fundamental Law). While the decision is still very recent, nevertheless, thanks to its local self-governments may expect the substantive review of their petitions by the Constitutional Court in the future.


Ádám Varga
Ádám Varga: visiting lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; assistant lecturer, National University of Public Service, Budapest; counselor, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
Article

The Impact of the Achmea Ruling on Intra-EU BIT Investment Arbitration

A Hungarian Perspective

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Achmea, Intra-EU BIT, investment arbitration, investment protection, Hungary
Authors Veronika Korom
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Achmea judgment of the CJEU brought the worlds of EU law and investment arbitration on a collision course. The judgment sent shockwaves through the EU investment arbitration community, which feared that Achmea would be the death knell of intra-EU BIT arbitration. In the years since Achmea, however, arbitral tribunals, ad hoc committees and national courts have found ways around Achmea, effectively eliminating its practical impact on intra-EU investment disputes. On 5 May 2020, the majority of EU Member States adopted a multilateral agreement that seeks to terminate intra-EU BITs and provides for a transitional regime for pending arbitrations in order to give effect to Achmea. This agreement, once ratified, will mark the end of intra-EU BIT arbitration in the future, although its impact on pending proceedings remains unclear. With its 22 intra-EU BITs and several arbitration proceedings pending under these treaties, Hungary has relied heavily (albeit unsuccessfully thus far) on Achmea in recent years as part of its defense strategy. The final termination of intra-EU BITs will be a win for Hungary in the short term, as no new investment arbitrations can be pursued by EU investors against Hungary. In the long term, however, the termination of intra-EU BITs will leave Hungarian companies who invest in the EU without sound legal protection and may even adversely impact Hungary’s standing as an attractive place for EU investment.


Veronika Korom
Veronika Korom: assistant professor of law, ESSEC Business School.
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.
Editorial

Editorial Comments: The Relevance of Foreign Investment Protection in International and EU Law

Foreword to Vol. 8 (2020) of the Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Authors Marcel Szabó
Author's information

Marcel Szabó
Marcel Szabó: editor-in-chief; professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, 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.

András Tóth
András Tóth: professor of law, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church, Budapest; Chairman of the Competition Council, Hungarian Competition Authority.
Article

The New Hungarian Private International Law Code

Something Old and Something New

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords private international law, codification, general part of the New Hungarian Private International Law Code, legal institutions in the New Hungarian Private International Law Code, EU private international law regulations
Authors Katalin Raffai
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since the adoption of Law Decree No. 13 of 1979 on Private International Law (Old Code) both the legal environment of the EU and the Hungarian legal and social background have undergone substantial changes. Without questioning its progressive character, it must be stated that the Old Code wore the imprints of the era in which it was drafted. With the fall of the socialist system, the necessary amendments were made to the system of the Old Code, accelerated by Hungary’s accession to the EU. All the above played an important role in the Government’s order to begin work on the comprehensive modernization of the Old Code. The Act XXVIII of 2017 on Private International Law (New Code) entered into force on 1 January 2018. The present study focuses on the following topics: the reasons for the revision of the Old Code, the presentation of the relationship between the New Code and EU regulations in the system of legal instruments, and the review of legal institutions in the general part, with special attention to the major changes undertaken compared to the Old Code.


Katalin Raffai
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; member of the Private International Law Codification Committee.
Article

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

Specific Features and Problems of Application

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, protection of minority languages, protection of regional languages, supervisory regime
Authors Gábor Kardos
AbstractAuthor's information

    As was the case after the Great War, World War II was followed by the setting up of international legal regimes to protect national (national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious) minorities in Europe. The emerging ideas of universalism and European unity were to prevent the aftermath of World War I, a conflict which erupted as a result of Western focusing the system of European minority protection on Central and Eastern Europe. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages protects minority languages, without granting minority rights. It provides an á la Carte system of obligations, with a supervisory system hinged on government reports. The Charter was intended to be a ‘high politics’ treaty. Nevertheless, with the protection of the minority linguistic heritage and the indirect provision of minority linguistic rights, it meant a first step towards bringing an end to the 19th century processes linguistic homogenization of the budding nationstates. As such, its implementation is highly political. The minority languages protected by the Charter are strongly varied in nature. If we add this factor to the á la Carte system of obligations, the sheer complexity of the system prevents evaluations of the Committee of Experts from being as consistent as they should be. An important contribution of the soft supervisory mechanism is that it at least puts some problematic issues on the agenda, however, experience has shown that the transposition of treaty obligations into national law is always a simpler task than creating the substantive conditions for the actual use of minority languages.


Gábor Kardos
Professor of law, ELTE Law School, Budapest; Member of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
Article

The Precautionary Principle in the Fundamental Law of Hungary

Judicial Activism or an Inherent Fundamental Principle? An Evaluation of Constitutional Court Decision No. 13/2018. (IX. 4.) AB on the Protection of Groundwater

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, precautionary principle, judicial activism, Article P of the Fundamental Law of Hungary, constitutional protection of the environment
Authors Marcel Szabó
AbstractAuthor's information

    Acting upon the motion of the President of the Republic, the Constitutional Court of Hungary ruled in its Decision No. 13/2018. (IX. 4.) AB that the regulation which would have allowed establishing new wells up to the depth of 80m without a license or notification was contrary to the Fundamental Law. The Constitutional Court found in its decision that the regulation would endanger the volume and quality of underground water in a way that, considering the precautionary principle, was no longer compatible with the protection of natural resources and cultural artefacts forming the common heritage of the nation as laid down in Article P(1) of the Fundamental Law or Article XXI(1) of the same on the right to a healthy environment. It was in this decision that the Constitutional Court first outlined in detail the constitutional significance of the precautionary principle, with this principle forming the central part of the decision’s reasoning. Within the framework of this study I examine whether this decision based on the precautionary principle can be considered the ‘extraction’ of what is inherently present in the Fundamental Law or on the contrary, whether it was an activist approach imposing the principle on the Fundamental Law.


Marcel Szabó
Professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary.
Article

From Kásler to Dunai

A Brief Overview of Recent Decisions of the CJEU in Hungarian Cases Concerning Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords preliminary ruling, consumer protection, unfair terms, Directive 93/13/EEC, consumer loan contract
Authors Miklós Zoltán Fehér
AbstractAuthor's information

    The CJEU was recently called upon to interpret Council Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts in relation to consumer loan contracts denominated in a foreign currency and in relation to the legislation adopted by the Hungarian Parliament in 2014 concerning such contracts in several Hungarian preliminary ruling procedures. The decisions of the CJEU, starting with the judgment rendered in case C-26/13, Kásler and Káslerné Rábai, have not only contributed to the ever-evolving case-law relating to Directive 93/13/EEC but also provided national jurisdictions with useful guidance on the interpretation and application of the Directive in the specific area of consumer loan contracts concluded in a foreign currency, an area of prolific litigation before Hungarian courts in recent years. The CJEU also evaluated the Hungarian legislation adopted in 2014 to deal with certain issues relating to such contracts and seemed to approve of its conformity with Directive 93/13/EEC in a series of decisions up until the judgment made in case C-117/18, Dunai. In that judgment, however, the findings of the CJEU may have been based on a misinterpretation of the content of national legislation, leading to a perhaps erroneous conclusion and most certainly prompting a re-emergence of controversies before national courts.


Miklós Zoltán Fehér
Head of Department at the Hungarian Ministry of Justice, Agent of the Hungarian Government before the CJEU.
Article

The Rights of the Victim in Hungarian Criminal Proceedings

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords rights of victims, code of criminal procedure in Hungary, victims in criminal procedure, Directive 2012/29/EU, rights of vulnerable persons
Authors Anna Kiss
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the course of the development of criminal law victims lost their former leading role in the procedure and were pushed to the periphery of justice. Legal experts have come to realize that this tendency is tremendously unfair to the victim. European documents on the legal position of the victims increasingly called the attention of the legislature to the need of bringing about changes. In Hungary, the relevant new law was passed in June 2017. The Code came into effect in July 2018 and confirmed the victim’s procedural position. Since July, there are three groups of victims’ rights in Hungarian Criminal Proceedings: provision of information and support; participation in criminal proceedings; protection of victims and recognition of victims in need of special protection. In addition to describing the rights, the study also draws attention to the fact in light of the principle that all rights are worth upholding it is not enough to regulate the rights of victims. The study also warns that although the rights of victims are important, we should not forget the guarantees concerning suspects’ rights, which must also be ensured.


Anna Kiss
Senior research fellow, National Institute of Criminology, Budapest.
Article

In Unchartered Waters?

The Place and Position of EU Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, Charter of Fundamental Rights, preliminary ruling procedure, constitutional dialogue, CILFIT criteria
Authors Márton Sulyok and Lilla Nóra Kiss
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper examines the perception and position of EU law in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of Hungary within the constitutional arrangements brought to life after 2012. In this context, the inquiry addresses the changes regarding the status of EU law in constitutional case-law amounting to what is identified here as the method of ‘resourceful engagement’. Under this approach, the paper also examines the extent and frequency of the use of human rights reasoning based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU in the proceedings of the Constitutional Court (2015-2019), focusing mostly on constitutional complaints procedures. The paper briefly mentions the controversial nature of the ‘Implementation Dilemma’ regarding the Charter and its application in Member States’ constitutional court proceedings. As a corollary, in light of domestic procedures examined in the Repcevirág Szövetkezet v. Hungary judgment (April 2019) of the ECtHR, it examines whether the Constitutional Court could eventually start acting as a court of referral under Article 267 TFEU in such proceedings where the protection of fundamental rights under the Charter would require the interpretation of EU law. This would mark a shift from the earlier ‘context of non-reference’ to an approach of ‘resourceful engagement’ suggested by this paper.


Márton Sulyok
Senior lecturer, University of Szeged.

Lilla Nóra Kiss
Junior research fellow, University of Miskolc.
Article

Fair Trial under Scrutiny

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, right to a fair trial, Article 6 ECHR, Article XXVIII of the Fundamental Law of Hungary, Hungarian Code of Criminal Procedure
Authors Ágnes Czine
AbstractAuthor's information

    The right to a fair trial has an eminent position in the Fundamental Law of Hungary both because of the importance of the right and the great number of applications and jurisprudence it has been the subject of. This study presents the legal background of fair trial and its place in the Hungarian legal system, analyzing the jurisprudence of the Hungarian Constitutional Court on the right to fair trial, and in particular, the obligation to adjudicate within a reasonable time. While the Constitutional Court has developed a consistent practice in this regard, there are nevertheless new issues that may make the amendment of certain pieces of legislation necessary. This paper presents a case-study on a new development in the Constitutional Court’s practice on the issue of deciding the case within a reasonable time.


Ágnes Czine
Justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary.
Article

Conference on the Evaluation of Legislation

Report on the ‘Evaluation of Legislation’ Conference Organized by Pázmány Péter Catholic University, 3 May 2019, Budapest

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Authors Noémi Suri
Author's information

Noémi Suri
Assistant professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

Defining the Role of the Aarhus Convention as Part of National, International and EU Law

Conclusions of a Case-Law Analysis

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Aarhus Convention, principle of public participation, protection of the environment, environmental issues before national (constitutional) courts, direct applicability
Authors Ágnes Váradi
AbstractAuthor's information

    As a basic point of reference in international law the Aarhus Convention has a considerable impact on the framework of public participation in environmental matters. The fact that the Convention forms part of national legal orders of EU Member States both as part of international and EU law, the proper enforcement of its provisions makes it inevitable to draw up certain principles of interpretation. The current paper aims to analyze how the Aarhus Convention appears at the level of legal argumentation in the case-law of the CJEU and selected national constitutional courts or high courts of EU Member States, namely, Germany, France and Hungary. Those decisions are examined that refer directly and explicitly to the Aarhus Convention. The case-law analysis is completed by the reference to the relevant secondary literature. The findings can provide a synthesis about the role of the Aarhus Convention, thematic milestones can be drawn up concerning the interpretation of the obligations stemming from the Convention and they can give useful insights into the relationship of national laws, EU law and international law. Meanwhile, they contribute to the analysis of the role of civil participation in the protection of the environment. This way, the conclusions can support the emergence of a (more) general approach in EU Member States as far as public participation in environmental matters is concerned.


Ágnes Váradi
Research fellow, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies.
Article

E Pluribus Unum? Racial Injustice in the US and the International Response

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords UN human rights machinery, prohibition of discrimination, segregation in the US, racial discrimination, UN Human Rights Council
Authors Thamil Venthan Ananthavinavagan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The UN issued a scathing report in 2016 stating that “[I]n particular, the legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the US remains a serious challenge.” After international slave trade, abolition of slavery, Jim Crow laws, civil rights struggle, ongoing systemic police brutality against African Americans and a prison machinery with a high prison rate with African Americans inmates the question remains: has racial discrimination ever ended in the US? The rising strength of a white supremacist movement poses another significant threat to the national cohesion of different communities in the US. Moreover, it reveals the dormant white nationalism that has awakened in light of policies and rhetoric animated and nourished by leading politicians in the country. To this end, this paper will investigate the following question: what is the impact of the colonial past on the US and how did the UN respond to this past? Finally, what will be the role of the UN to enhance the US human rights infrastructure for African Americans and ameliorate their situation in light of rising white supremacism?


Thamil Venthan Ananthavinavagan
Lecturer, Griffith College, Dublin.
Article

Languages and Linguistic Issues before the International Criminal Court

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords linguistic issues, ICC, language of criminal procedure, local languages, use of own language
Authors Péter Kovács
AbstractAuthor's information

    The present article deals with some of the language issues present before the International Criminal Court (ICC). These issues do not simply result from the challenges of translation to/from English and French but also from the fact that the English and French used before the ICC are specialist legal languages with centuries-old practice behind their well-established notions (e.g. ‘no case to answer’). There are numerous other languages used by witnesses and victims with various backgrounds in the different cases and situations. They are mostly local, sometimes tribal languages often lacking the vocabulary necessary to describe complex legal issues, to deal with notions and phenomena of modern substantive or procedural law. It is equally important to note that there are always special local notions, which are impossible to translate with a single term, sometimes becoming a part of the English or French language of the procedure. Other languages, however, may bring with them their own special legal or historical-legal vocabulary, which must be reflected on in order to unpack its proper meaning. As such, language issues are omnipresent before the ICC, having also an impact on the budget of the Court. The efficient and accurate work of interpreters and translators is of outmost importance from the point of view of fair trial, rights of the accused but also from the perspective of access to information for victims, witnesses or local communities who are following the judicial procedure from home.


Péter Kovács
Professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; judge at the International Criminal Court (2015-2024).

Írisz E. Horváth
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
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