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Conference Reports

Conference on the Bindingness of EU Soft Law

Report on the ‘Conference on the Bindingness of EU Soft Law’ Organized by Pázmány Péter Catholic University, 9 April 2021, Budapest

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords conference report, soft law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, bindingness, Grimaldi
Authors Vivien Köböl-Benda
AbstractAuthor's information

    The online ‘Conference on the bindingness of EU soft law’ was organized by the Ereky Public Law Research Center at Pázmány Péter Catholic University (Hungary), the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (Spain), and the Portsmouth Law School (United Kingdom) on 9 April 2021. The presentations described EU soft law instruments’ legal effect on EU institutions and the Member States. The soft law instruments of different policy fields were also examined, including the analysis of the language of EU soft law.


Vivien Köböl-Benda
Vivien Köböl-Benda: PhD student, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Developments in International Law

The Decision on the Situation in Palestine Issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court

Reflecting on the Legal Merits

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords International Criminal Court, ICC, Palestine, Oslo Accords, jurisdiction
Authors Rachel Sweers
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 5 February 2021, the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its decision on the Situation in Palestine affirming that its territorial jurisdiction extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The Situation was brought before the Chamber by request of the ICC’s Prosecutor. Legal issues were addressed in the Majority Decision, as well as in the Partly Dissenting Opinion and Partly Separate Opinion. The procedural history involving the Prosecution Request that seized the Chamber on the Situation in Palestine will be discussed, including a brief analysis of the legal basis for this request. Furthermore, the legal merits of the Situation in Palestine will be compartmentalized into three main pillars in order to analyze step by step how the Chamber reached its conclusion.


Rachel Sweers
Rachel Sweers: legal intern, International Criminal Court, the Hague.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Article

The ECtHR on Constitutional Complaint as Effective Remedy in the Hungarian Legal Order

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ECHR, Constitutional Court of Hungary, constitutional complaint, exhaustion of domestic remedies, subsidiarity
Authors Péter Paczolay
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since 2012 a new regulation of the constitutional complaint was introduced to the Hungarian legal system that since then also includes the full constitutional complaint against final court decisions. Besides this new remedy , two other exist: a complaint against a legal provision applied in court proceedings (in force since 1990), and an exceptional form of the complaint against a legal provision, when there are no real and effective remedies available. Before 2012 the ECtHR did not consider the constitutional complaint to be an effective domestic remedy that needs to be exhausted. In two decisions taken in 2018 and 2019 the ECtHR declared that – under the respective conditions and circumstances – all three kinds of constitutional complaints may offer an effective remedy to the applicants at domestic level. The case note presents the two cases summarizing the main arguments of the ECtHR that led to this conclusion.


Péter Paczolay
Péter Paczolay: professor of law, University of Szeged; judge, ECtHR.
Article

Urgenda to Be Followed

Will the Courts Be the Last Resort to Prevent Dangerous Climate Change?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords climate change, Urgenda, Paris Agreement, effort sharing, IPCC
Authors András Huszár
AbstractAuthor's information

    The fight against climate change has reached new battlegrounds. National courts have become the stage where individuals and communities are trying to force Governments or other public and private legal entities to do more. After more than four years of legal battle, the Dutch Supreme Court has settled perhaps one of the most well-known climate cases in literature so far: Urgenda Foundation v. the State of the Netherlands. The essence of the judgment is that the Dutch Government was ordered to comply with the greenhouse gas emission reduction target deemed necessary by the international community. The way in which the Court has arrived at this conclusion in terms of the concrete obligation is questionable. While the ruling is based on various legal bases, the present article examines solely the arguments derived from international climate law and science. To that end it elaborates on the challenges of establishing the substance of a legally binding obligation for individual states concerning mitigation, it analyzes the nature of joint mitigation efforts, it looks at reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used as evidence in court procedures, and finally, it explores the possible future of climate litigation in light of the legally binding ‘ultimate’ goal of climate policy introduced by the Paris Agreement.


András Huszár
András Huszár: PhD student, National University of Public Service, Budapest; founder and director, Green Policy Center.
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 Elusive Quest for Digital Exhaustion in the US and the EU

The CJEU’s Tom Kabinet Ruling a Milestone or Millstone for Legal Evolution?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords digital exhaustion, Tom Kabinet, UsedSoft, ReDigi, copyright law
Authors Shubha Ghosh and Péter Mezei
AbstractAuthor's information

    The CJEU published its much-awaited preliminary ruling in Case C-263/18 - Nederlands Uitgeversverbond and Groep Algemene Uitgevers (the Tom Kabinet case) in December 2019. Our paper aims to introduce the Tom Kabinet ruling and discuss its direct and indirect consequences in copyright law. The Tom Kabinet ruling has seriously limited (in fact, outruled) the resale of lawfully acquired e-books. It left various questions unanswered, and thus missed the opportunity to provide for clarity and consistency in digital copyright law. Our analysis addresses how the CJEU deferred from its own logic developed in the UsedSoft decision on the resale of lawfully acquired computer programs, and how the CJEU’s conservative approach ultimately missed the opportunity to reach a compromise ruling. The paper further introduces the US approach that has a strong distinction between selling and making with respect to the research of exhaustion. We aim to trace how this distinction rests on the statutory basis for exhaustion (in copyright) and common law basis (in patent and trademark law) and compare these findings with the CJEU’s recent interpretation of exhaustion. Our focus will be on the Supreme Court’s decisions in Kirstaeng and Bowman and lower court decisions that examine technological solutions to facilitate resale. We examine how the US approach adopts a rigid approach that might inhibit technological development in digital markets, an approach with parallels in the Tom Kabinet ruling. In conclusion, we assess whether there is convergence between the two sides of the Atlantic or whether there is a path of innovative legal development that reconciles the various precedents.


Shubha Ghosh
Shubha Ghosh: Crandall Melvin professor of law, Syracuse University, US.

Péter Mezei
Péter Mezei: associate professor of law, University of Szeged; adjunct professor (dosentti), University of Turku, Finland.
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

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.
Article

Snapshot of the EU Soft Law Research Landscape

Main Issues and Challenges

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords soft law, normativity, bindingness, directive-like recommendations, hybridity
Authors Petra Lea Láncos
AbstractAuthor's information

    Inspired by research into international soft law norms, the last two decades have seen an intensified investigation of the non-binding measures of the EU. With the proliferation of such norms at EU level, attempts at a taxonomy of EU soft law have been undertaken. The present paper tries to map the current status of EU soft law research, highlighting possible directions for future research.


Petra Lea Láncos
Researcher, Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung, Speyer; associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.

András Zs. Varga
Professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; judge, Constitutional Court of Hungary.

Eszter Bianka Sütő
PhD candidate, University of Debrecen.

Réka Somssich
Associate professor, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest.
Article

Public Procurement Policy Then and Now

Trends in Public Procurement Harmonisation II

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2018
Authors Anita Németh
Author's information

Anita Németh
Attorney-at-law, honorary professor, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest.

Yseult Marique
Free University of Brussels (ULB), University of Essex and FÖV Speyer.

Kris Wauters
Free University of Brussels (ULB), University of Essex and FÖV Speyer, Catholic University of Louvain (UC Louvain) and attorney-at-law.
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