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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

The Development of Human Rights Diplomacy Since the Establishment of the UN

More Actors, More Efficiency?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords human rights, diplomacy, international organizations, NGOs, corporate social responsibility
Authors István Lakatos
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study gives a comprehensive picture of the development of human rights diplomacy since the establishment of the UN, focusing on the dilemmas governments are facing regarding their human-rights-related decisions and demonstrating the changes that occurred during the post-Cold War period, both in respect of the tools and participants in this field. Special attention is given to the role of international organizations, and in particular to the UN in this process, and the new human rights challenges the international community must address in order to maintain the relevance of human rights diplomacy.


István Lakatos
István Lakatos: career diplomat, former human rights ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, currently senior adviser of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights of Montenegro.
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 Case Between Urgenda and the State of the Netherlands

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords climate change, public interest litigation, human rights, ECHR, Netherlands
Authors Otto Spijkers
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court of the Netherlands held that the Netherlands’ Government must ensure that, by the end of 2020, greenhouse gas emission levels from the Netherlands are at least a quarter below 1990 levels, otherwise the rights to life and wellbeing, as guaranteed under Articles 2 and 8 ECHR respectively, of the people in the Netherlands are breached. In doing so, the Supreme Court affirmed the reasoning and ruling of the Appeals Court, and distanced itself from the reasoning of the District Court, which was primarily based on domestic tort law.


Otto Spijkers
Otto Spijkers: professor of law, China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies (CIBOS) of Wuhan University.
Case Notes

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

Decision No. 13/2018. (IX. 4.) AB of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords environmental impact assessment, precautionary principle, non-derogation principle, Constitutional Court of Hungary, groundwater
Authors Gábor Kecskés
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 28 August 2018, the Constitutional Court of Hungary delivered a milestone decision [Decision No. 13/2018. (IX. 4.) AB] in relation to the protection of groundwater with reference to the general protection of the environment as a constitutionally protected value. The President of the Republic pointed out in his petition to the Constitutional Court that two sections of the draft legislation are contrary to the Fundamental Law by violating Articles B(1), P(1) and XXI(1) of the Fundamental Law by permitting water abstraction with much lower standards. Adopted by the majority along with concurring and dissenting opinions, the decision is an important judicial achievement in the general framework of constitutional water and environmental protection. It also confirms the non-derogation principle elaborated by the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court had the opportunity and an ‘open mind’ to take into consideration numerous sources of scientific professional evidence on the stock of water and groundwater abstraction. The decision was acclaimed for its environmental orientation, and even more, for developing the 25-year old standards of constitutional review in environmental matters by elaborating on the implicit substance of several articles enshrined in the new Fundamental Law (e.g. Articles P and XXI).


Gábor Kecskés
Gábor Kecské: research fellow, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies, Budapest; associate professor of law, Széchenyi István University, Győr.
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

The CETA Opinion of the CJEU

Redefining the Contours of the Autonomy of the EU Legal Order

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords CETA, settlement of investment disputes, autonomy of EU law, Achmea, multilateral investment court
Authors Tamás Szabados
AbstractAuthor's information

    In its Opinion 1/17, the CJEU confirmed that the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA or the Agreement) entered into between Canada and the EU is compatible with EU law. In the view of the CJEU, the CETA does not have an adverse effect on the autonomy of the EU legal order; it does not violate the principle of equality, the effectiveness of EU law and the right of access to an independent tribunal. Some of the findings of the Opinion are, however, controversial. In particular, it is questionable whether the autonomy of EU law is indeed unaffected by the Agreement, because it seems that in certain situations an interpretation of EU law is hardly avoidable for the CETA Tribunal and the Appellate Tribunal to make. With its Opinion, the CJEU not only lends support to similar trade and investment protection agreements, but it also paves the way for the participation of the EU in creating a multilateral investment court as long as the limits set by the CJEU are observed.


Tamás Szabados
Tamás Szabados: associate professor of law, ELTE Law School, Budapest.
Article

An Important Planning Instrument: Strategic Environmental Assessment (EU Directive 2001/42).

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords environmental impact assessment, Directive 2001/42, strategic planning, assessment of plans, environmental report
Authors Ludwig Krämer
AbstractAuthor's information

    Directive 2001/42 requires the elaboration of an environmental impact assessment, before certain national, regional or local plans or programs related to the environment are adopted. The paper presents the content of the Directive and summarizes the case-law of the CJEU on the Directive. Furthermore, it raises a number of legal questions hitherto left undiscussed by the European courts.


Ludwig Krämer
Derecho y Medio Ambiente S.L., Madrid

Tamás Szabados
Senior lecturer, ELTE Law School, Budapest.

Zénó Suller
PhD student, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
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.
Editorial

Legal, Ethical and Economical Impacts of Intergenerational Equity (Editorial Comments)

Foreword to Vol. 7 (2019) of the Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law

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

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

The European Investment Bank

An EU Institution Facing Challenges and Providing Real European Added Value

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords European Investment Bank, status and role of development banks, Green Bonds, European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), InvestEU
Authors Zsolt Halász
AbstractAuthor's information

    Multilateral banks play an important role in financing larger investment projects within the EU and in most parts of the world. These institutions are less known than that commercial banks, even though many of these institutions – and in particular, the European Investment Bank – have provided a truly remarkable volume of financial support for the countries where they operate, including EU Member States. This paper introduces the largest of the multilateral financial institutions: the European Investment Bank. It elaborates on the specific regulatory framework applicable to its structure and operation as well as a number of special characteristics affecting this institution exhibiting a unique dual nature: a multilateral bank and an EU institution. This paper examines the complexity of the EIB’s operation, in particular, the impact of external circumstances such as EU enlargements of the past and the Brexit issue in the present. Beyond these specific questions, generic issues relating to its operations, governance, the applicable specific prudential requirements and the non-supervised nature of multilateral financial institutions are analyzed as well. This paper also reflects on the EIB’s unimpeachable role in financing the EU economy and on its pioneering role in bringing non-financial considerations, such as environmental protection into the implementation of financial operations.


Zsolt Halász
Associate 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

Key Factors of the Development and Renewal of the Social Market Economy in the EU

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Europe 2020 strategy, social market economy, eco-social market economy, social welfare systems, EU structural funds
Authors István Kőrösi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this study is to present the principles, strategy and operation of the social market economy, based on legal, political and economic considerations. The first social market economy, West Germany – followed by Austria, the Netherlands, as well as other countries in Northern and Western Europe –, mustered a positive overall performance from the post-World War II years to the early 1970s. Since then, however, we have been witnessing the erosion, distortion and decline of efficiency of the social market economy. There are four main issues to be addressed: (i) What are the main theoretical and conceptual, ‘eternal’ elements of the social market economy? (ii) What economic policy was built on this theoretical foundation and why did the system work well in Western Europe after World War II? (iii) What factors eroded this system? (iv) Can social market economy be renewed in the second decade of the 21st century and, if it can, what are the preconditions of it? In my analysis, I highlight some key areas: EU policies, Lisbon Agenda and Europe 2020 strategy, growth, financial disequilibria and competitiveness, innovation and employment, the relation of state and market.


István Kőrösi
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; senior research fellow, World Economic Institute of ERRC of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Article

European Water Law and Uncertainty

Managing Hydrological Variability in Shared River Basins in the EU

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords hydrological variability, transboundary water governance, EU water law, shared river basins, variability management
Authors Gábor Baranyai
AbstractAuthor's information

    Hydrological variability has been on the rise in the past decades with dramatic consequences for water management on the national and international plane alike. Yet, most legal regimes governing the use and protection of water resources reflect a high degree of rigidity presuming that hydrological conditions prevailing at the time of their conception remain stable indefinitely. The mismatch between rigid legal frameworks and rapidly changing natural conditions are likely to give rise to new types of interstate conflicts in shared river basins (or accentuate existing ones), since historically the adoption of (new) transboundary governance regimes has been very slow and reactive in character. While the EU has been praised worldwide as an exemplary model of co-riparian cooperation, its multi-layered water governance regime also deserves a comprehensive fitness check that, among others, should evaluate its ability to handle the growing uncertainty surrounding underlying hydrological circumstances. This article provides a resilience assessment of European water law from the perspective of the management of hydrological variability.


Gábor Baranyai
Senior lecturer, National University of Public Service, Budapest.

Ágnes Kovács-Tahy
Assistant professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, 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.

Miklós Király
Professor of law, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest.
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