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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.
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

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

Sustainable Developments in Foreign Investment Law and Policy

Related to Renewable Energy and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords sustainable development, climate change mitigation, Paris Agreement, renewable energy law, ICSID
Authors Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger
AbstractAuthor's information

    Sustainable development is gradually integrated into policies worldwide, meanwhile, government authorities and policymakers, alongside public and private enterprises, are signaling the growing scope and scale of investment opportunities in this field. Capital cuts and decreasing generating costs are fueling the market in renewable technologies. At the same time, bilateral and multilateral treaties are being negotiated, which set the framework for expanding sustainable solutions: treaty regimes increasingly encourage and promote trade and investment for more sustainable energy development, responding to global concerns on climate change. Investment protection litigation offers new insights into trends in jurisprudence, demonstrating how this field of law can be instrumental not only for protecting undertakings’ interests, but holding countries to their commitments under international treaties for the protection of the environment.


Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger
Senior director, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL); professor of law, University of Waterloo, Canada.
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