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Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law x Year 2021 x
Public Health Emergency: National, European and International Law Responses

Constitutional Rights in the Time of Pandemic

The Experience of Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords state of emergency, emergency powers, restriction of fundamental rights, Fundamental Law, Constitutional Court of Hungary
Authors Lóránt Csink
AbstractAuthor's information

    Special circumstances may require special measures. This article is to highlight the importance of constitutional rights, also in the time of a pandemic. Its hypothesis is that constitutional rights are not luxuries one can only afford in peacetime, they are much rather at the core of civilization and democracy. History shows that a world without rights may easily turn into a nightmare. The article first focuses on the Hungarian constitutional basis of the state of emergency (Section 2). Next, it analyses the text of the constitution with respect to the limitation of fundamental rights and elaborates on the various interpretations through the lens of the case-law of the Constitutional Court (Sections 3-4). Finally, the article concludes that despite the rigid wording of the Hungarian Fundamental Law, constitutional rights can be restricted only if the restriction meets the necessity-proportionality test (Section 5)


Lóránt Csink
Lóránt Csink: associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; counselor, Constitutional Court of Hungary, 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.
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

Applicability of the GDPR on Personal Household Robots

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords artificial intelligence, robots, personal data, GDPR, scenarios
Authors Gizem Gültekin Várkonyi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics point to a close future collaboration between humans and machines. Even though the use of personal robots is not yet a phenomenon, findings in technical and legal literature highlight several possible risks inherent in the processing of personal data by such robots. This article contributes to the current discussions on the applicability of the GDPR to AI technologies from three aspects: (i) first, it encourages the use of a scenario method to predict possible future legal problems related to new technologies; (ii) second, it analyzes considerations with the support of the relevant case-law and present comparative expert opinions for overcoming the weak points of the GDPR relevant to AI; (iii) and finally, proposals made in the recommendations part aim to contribute to a better application of the GDPR to AI technologies in personal use.


Gizem Gültekin Várkonyi
Gizem Gültekin Várkonyi: junior research fellow, University of Szeged.
Public Health Emergency: National, European and International Law Responses

European State Aid Rules in Times of Pandemic

Distorting Competition Between European Airlines?

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

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


Mónika Papp
Mónika Papp: research fellow, Centre for Social Sciences, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Budapest; senior lecturer, ELTE Law School, Budapest.
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.
Public Health Emergency: National, European and International Law Responses

State Aid in the Times of COVID-19 Pandemic

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords temporary framework, competition law, state aid, COVID-19, European Commission
Authors Katalin Gombos and Anikó Edit Szűcs
AbstractAuthor's information

    COVID-19 caused serious turbulence in the economy worldwide, severely damaging certain industries, while generating extra revenues for others. In order to be able to continue business as usual following the current crises there is a need to provide state aid to sectors and companies which could not have been imaginable previously. The EU has reacted extremely speedily. Under the Temporary Framework issued by the European Commission at the beginning of the pandemic a significant number of state aids has been approved. Although the Temporary Framework was adapted very quickly, the transitional rules ensure that state aids do not interfere with the functioning of the internal market except to the extent a necessary and proportionate. The present article highlights the various legal bases which can be invoked in the present COVID-19 pandemic situation for providing state aid, includes a comprehensive summary of every single state aid notified to the European Commission with respect to the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and presents numerous examples from the practice.


Katalin Gombos
Katalin Gombos: associate professor of law, National University of Public Service, Budapest; judge, Curia of Hungary, Budapest.

Anikó Edit Szűcs
Anikó Edit Szűcs: assistant lecturer, National University of Public Service, Budapest; associate, Bird & Bird International Law Firm, 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.
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.
Public Health Emergency: National, European and International Law Responses

Support for Families

A Way to Tackle COVID-19 and Its Implications in Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords family, children, vulnerable groups, social protection, housing benefits, labor market
Authors Éva Gellérné Lukács
AbstractAuthor's information

    COVID-19 poses a huge challenge for families and children; their exposure to economic, social and mental hardship is considerable and is confirmed by several studies. The pandemic pushes governments to allocate resources to the economy, but it is equally important to invest in the future by supporting families and children. The article outlines general tendencies in the EU and reflects on Hungarian measures in this field. During the first, second and third waves of COVID-19, a wide range of measures were introduced in Hungary. By extending the eligibility periods of family benefits for families with small children (both social insurance contribution-based and universal benefits) approximately 40,000 families (households) were covered. During the first and second COVID-19 waves, not only did the government extend benefit eligibility, but it also announced several new or renewed measures related to cash benefits and housing for families with at least one economically active parent. During the third wave eligibility periods of family benefits have again been extended. On the other hand, the unemployment benefit system remained intact, labor market pitfalls were addressed by providing wage subsidies.


Éva Gellérné Lukács
Éva Gellérné Lukács: senior lecturer, ELTE Law School, Budapest; external expert, Kopp Mária Institute for Demography and Families, Budapest.
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