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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.
Anniversary: Commemorating the 90th Birthday of Ferenc Mádl, President of the Republic (2000-2005)

Ferenc Mádl, the Hungarian Professor of European Law

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Ferenc Mádl, private international law, Central Europe, V4, Hungary
Authors Endre Domaniczky
AbstractAuthor's information

    Living in a country under foreign occupation he became engrossed in the science of private law, and (under the influence and with the support of his masters) he started to study the characteristics of socialist, and later of Western European legal systems. Within the socialist bloc, he became one of the early experts on Common Market law, who, following an unexpected historical event, the 1989 regime change in Hungary, was also able to make practical use of his theoretical knowledge for the benefit of his country. In 2021, on the 90th anniversary of his birth and the 10th anniversary of his death, the article remembers Ferenc Mádl, legal scholar, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, minister in the Antall- and Boross governments, former President of Hungary.


Endre Domaniczky
Endre Domaniczky: senior research fellow, Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law, Budapest.
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.
Hungarian State Practice

An Institution for a Sustainable Future

The Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords intergenerational equity, rights of future generations, ombudsman for future generations, Hungary, right to environment
Authors Kinga Debisso and Marcel Szabó
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this article is to give an insight into the process leading up to the establishment of the Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations and its tasks: an almost 15-year-old, unique legal institution aiming to protect the interests of future generations. The Ombudsman for Future Generations is an example for the institutionalization of the principle of intergenerational justice. The article aims to introduce the characteristics and strengths of the current institutional design and the structural features that allow for the successful operation of the Ombudsman for Future Generations in Hungary. Following an introduction to the political and historical context in which the institution was established, the article describes in detail the Ombudsman’s work, responsibilities, most important functions, elaborating on some examples of its best practices and achievements. Finally, the article touches upon how the example and experiences of the Hungarian institution may be valuable for other countries in Europe and beyond.


Kinga Debisso
Kinga Debisso: political advisor, Ministry of Justice, Budapest.

Marcel Szabó
Marcel Szabó: professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
Developments in International Law

The Evolution of Content-Related Offences and Their Investigation During the First 20 Years of the Cybercrime Convention

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords cybercrime, content-related offence, cyberbullying, privacy, wiretapping
Authors Kinga Sorbán
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Convention on Cybercrime otherwise known as the Budapest Convention was a complex, pioneering instrument addressing cross-border computer crimes in the wake of the 21st century. As the first international treaty aiming to tackle new threats emerging from the cyberspace, the Convention signed in 2001 certainly influenced national regulators and law enforcement over many years. Two decades have passed since 2001 and the Internet era has undergone previously unpredictable changes, as web 2.0 services started to thrive. Even though the Convention can be considered a landmark in international legislation, after 20 years one must eventually assess how well it stood the test of time and whether it still has relevance. This article has no smaller goal but to evaluate the evolution of content-related cybercrimes and try to the question whether the Convention is still fit to tackle contemporary issues or rather, is outdated and ready to retire.


Kinga Sorbán
Kinga Sorbán: junior research fellow, National University of Public Service, Budapest.
Public Health Emergency: National, European and International Law Responses

On the Constitutionality of the Punishment of Scaremongering in the Hungarian Legal System

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords scaremongering, clear and present danger, COVID-19 pandemic, freedom of expression, Constitutional Court of Hungary
Authors András Koltay
AbstractAuthor's information

    Scaremongering criminalized as a limitation to freedom of speech in Hungarian law. In lack of relevant case-law, free speech commentators rarely discussed the provision until the Government took action to step up the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ensuing amendment of the Criminal Code in Spring 2020 brought the subject back to the forefront of public debate. The article analyses the constitutional issues related to the criminalization of scaremongering, taking the two available Constitutional Court decisions rendered in this subject as guideline. Though the newly introduced legislation attracted widespread criticism in Hungary and elsewhere in Europe, a thorough examination of the new statutory elements makes it clear that public debate and critical opinions may not be stifled by prosecuting individuals for scaremongering. Although the applicable standard cannot yet be determined with full accuracy, the Constitutional Court’s decisions and relevant academic analysis resolve the main issues in order to protect freedom of expression, while the clarification of further details remains a matter for the case-law.


András Koltay
András Koltay: rector and professor of law, University of Public Service, Budapest; professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Developments in European Law

The Possibility of Using Article 72 TFEU as a Conflict-of-Law Rule

Hungary Seeking Derogation from EU Asylum Law

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Article 72 TFEU, internal security, conflict of law, Common European Asylum System, relocation decisions
Authors Ágnes Töttős
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this article is to examine how the CJEU circumscribed the room for maneuver of Member States for safeguarding their internal security and whether the use of and reference to Article 72 TFEU changed over the past years. The starting point of the analysis is the Hungarian asylum infringement case: the article looks back at earlier case-law and identifies how the reference to Article 72 TFEU shifted from considering it an implementation clause to the attempts at using it as a conflict-of-law rule. Although the article finds that the CJEU reduced the scope of possibly using Article 72 TFEU as a conflict-of-law rule and practically excludes its application by the setting high standards for this unique form of application, the article examines some extreme situations from 2020 where it could be validly referred to.


Ágnes Töttős
Ágnes Töttős: senior government counselor, Government Office of the Prime Minister, 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.
Case Notes

The Afterlife of the Relocation of Judicial Cases

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords right to a lawful judge, National Judicial Council, relocation of judicial cases, reasonable time, length of proceedings
Authors Ágnes Czine
AbstractAuthor's information

    The requirement of an independent and impartial tribunal established by law is set out in Article 6(1) ECHR and Article XXVIII(1) of the Fundamental Law of Hungary. The elements of the definition of the right to a fair trial are closely tied to the requirement of judicial independence, impartiality and a court established by law. These guarantees’ purpose is to ensure that the applicant receive a judgment that is not prejudged by other branches of power, such as the influence of the executive, or the arbitrariness of the judiciary. This important human and fundamental rights requirement is monitored by bodies dedicated to the protection of democratic institutions. According to the laws of Hungary, lawsuits may be transferred to another court by the National Office for the Judiciary in order to reduce the workload. This solution has received strong international attention and scrutiny. Although these are actually not in force, they still have repercussions, which must be dealt with by the Constitutional Court. This article seeks to provide insight into the constitutional afterlife of this system of reallocation.


Ágnes Czine
Ágnes Czine: justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest; associate professor of law, and acting rector, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church, Budapest.
Hungarian State Practice

The Public Trust Doctrine, the Non-Derogation Principle and the Protection of Future Generations

The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s Review of the Forest Act

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords public trust, non-derogation, Article P, Constitutional Court of Hungary, future generations
Authors Katalin Sulyok
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article analyzes the doctrinal findings of the Hungarian Constitutional Court with respect to the constitutional protection afforded to future generations in the Fundamental Law. It focuses on Decision No. 14/2020. (VII. 6.) AB in which the Constitutional Court abolished an amendment to the Forest Act for infringing the right to a healthy environment and the environmental interests of future generations as enshrined in Article P of the Fundamental Law. On this occasion, the Constitutional Court for the first time explicitly recognized that Article P embodies the public trust doctrine; and stressed that it confers fiduciary duties on the State to act as a trustee over the natural heritage of the nation for the benefit of future generations, which limits the executive’s discretion to exploit and regulate such resources. This article puts the Hungarian constitutional public trust in a comparative perspective by exploring the origins, role and functioning of similar constitutional public trust provisions in other jurisdictions. This is followed by setting out the normative principles derived by the Hungarian Constitutional Court in its previous practice from Article P, such as the non-derogation principle, the principle of inter-generational equity, the imperative of long-term planning, economical use of resources and the precautionary principle. The article then sets out the legal bases featured in the ex post constitutional challenge brought against the amendment of the Forest Act by the Ombudsman, and the Constitutional Court’s reasoning. It concludes with offering some wider lessons for the judicial enforcement of long-term environmental goals vis-á-vis short-term economic private interests.


Katalin Sulyok
Katalin Sulyok: senior lecturer, ELTE Law School, Budapest; chief legal advisor, Office of the Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations, 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.
Case Notes

The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s Decision on the Protection of Forests

Decision No. 14/2020. (VII. 6.) AB of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords public trust, non-derogation, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Article P, future generations
Authors Attila Pánovics
AbstractAuthor's information

    In its decision delivered on 15 June 2020, the Hungarian Constitutional Court stated that several provisions of the 2017 amendment of the Act XXXVII of 2009 on Forest, Forest Protection and Forest Management are unconstitutional. The case was also an opportunity for the Constitutional Court to adopt another milestone decision on the interpretation and application of the environment-related provisions of the Fundamental Law and the “non-derogation principle”. The progressive decision of the Constitutional Court entrusts the Hungarian State with trustee duties. The present Case Note is an analysis of Decision No. 14/2020. (VII. 6.) AB of the Constitutional Court.


Attila Pánovics
Attila Pánovics: senior lecturer, University of Pécs.
Editorial

Editorial Comments: COVID-19 – EU Citizenship and the Right to Free Movement in a Public Health Crisis

Foreword to Vol. 9 (2021) of the Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Authors Laura Gyeney
Author's information

Laura Gyeney
Laura Gyeney: editor; associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Review of Hungarian Scholarly Literature

Tamás Molnár, The Interplay Between the EU’s Return Acquis and International Law (Book Review)

Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2021, 272 p, ISBN 978-1-83910-522-7

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Authors Izabella Majcher
Author's information

Izabella Majcher
Izabella Majcher: senior legal officer, European Council of Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), Brussels.
Case Notes

Can a Two-Tailed Dog Be Allowed Into the Polling Booth?

The Case of Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt Versus Hungary Before the ECtHR

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords freedom of speech, elections, ECtHR, democracy, secrecy of votes
Authors János Tamás Papp
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Hungarian satirical Two-Tailed Dog Party (Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt – MKKP) applied to the ECtHR as a result of the decisions rendered by the Hungarian National Electoral Commission, the Curia of Hungary and the Constitutional Court, who ruled that a mobile application developed by the party allowing anonymous users to share their invalid votes violated Hungarian election law. By 16 votes to 1, the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR ruled that the Hungarian authorities had violated the Article of the ECHR on freedom of expression. According to the ECtHR’s reasoning, the severe uncertainties about the possible consequences of the legal provisions applied by the domestic authorities went beyond what is permissible under Article 10(2) ECHR. The ECtHR has ruled that a judicial interpretation of a law’s rules does not inherently violate the requirement that laws be written in such a way that the legal implications are predictable. However, since the national law in this case provided for a case-by-case limitation on the expression of an opinion on voting, electoral bodies and national courts that interpreted and enforced these rules enjoyed an excessive amount of discretion. In conclusion, the ECtHR found that legislation restricting freedom of expression must be treated more strictly in connection with electoral procedures: it must not be in any way misleading or inconsistent.


János Tamás Papp
János Tamás Papp: PhD candidate, research fellow, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; media specialist, Institute for Media Studies of the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority, Budapest.
Article

The Temporal Effect and the Continuance in Force of the Treaty of Trianon

A Hundred Years Later

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords peace treaties, Trianon Peace Treaty, termination of treaties, temporal effect of international treaties, law of international treaties
Authors Norbert Tóth
AbstractAuthor's information

    The 1920 Trianon Peace Treaty ended World War I between Hungary and its belligerents. Nonetheless, one hundred years have passed since then, yet this peace treaty is still unsettling to many, causing misbelief, hatred, anger and misunderstanding both in Hungary and its neighboring countries. To unearth the temporal aspects of the Trianon Peace Treaty, more precisely, to identify exactly what obligations remain in force following this rather hectic century, it is indispensable to study the temporal effect of this agreement. The present article aims at arriving at a conclusion in relation to several misbeliefs held with respect to the Trianon Peace Treaty as well as the issue of its termination.


Norbert Tóth
Norbert Tóth: associate professor of law, National University of Public Service, Budapest.
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 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

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.

Anett Pogácsás
Anett Pogácsás: senior lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; member of the Hungarian Council of Copyright Experts.
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