Summer of Love: Karlsruhe Refers the QE Case to Luxembourg

It seems that the BVerfG has learned a lesson. Yesterday’s referral about the the European Central Bank’s policy of Quantitative Easing (QE) sets a completely different tone. It reads like a modest and balanced plea for judicial dialogue, rather than an indictment. Fifty years after the original event, a new Summer of Love seems to thrive between the highest judicial bodies. It shows no traces of the aplomb with which Karlsruhe presented its stance to Luxembourg three years ago.

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Reviewing the recent Ban on Ritual Slaughter in Flanders

Flanders has adopted a ban of religious slaughter without stunning, following the Walloon region that had done the same earlier this year. In analysing the Flemish decree, three critical remarks need to be made in putting the new law into the right legal perspective.

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Linking Efficiency with Fundamental Rights in the Dublin System: the Case of Mengesteab

The recent CJEU decision "Mengesteab" has two significant consequences for Member States. First, applicants have a right to challenge the procedural steps by which Member States arrive at decisions regarding responsibility for protection applications to insure their fidelity to the rules prescribed in the Dublin Regulation. Second, the duty of Member States to begin assessing which state holds this responsibility engages as soon as the competent authority identified pursuant to article 35(1) of the regulation becomes aware of a request for international protection.

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July 2017

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Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law

  • Indigenous autonomy in Colombia: State-building processes and multiculturalism
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The Opinion of Advocate General Bot in Taricco II: Seven “Deadly” Sins and a Modest Proposal

The wind of populism is blowing across Europe and courts (including constitutional and supreme courts) are not immune therefrom. Within this context, the enforcement of the constitutional identity clause to contrast the application and, sometimes, the primacy of EU law would be a powder keg waiting to be lit. In the latest act in the Taricco saga, Advocate General Bot in his opinion in Taricco II does nothing to defuse it – on the contrary.

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A 50/50 Ball: The East versus the EU in the Refugee Relocation Game

Last week, Advocate General Yves Bot dismissed the claims of Hungary and Slovakia against the EU refugee relocation scheme. The Commission has launched an infringement procedure against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for not fulfilling their quota. The East/West divide in the matter of refugee relocation could be seen as evidence that the former communist countries are culturally backwards, liberally underdeveloped, and have low tolerance levels in regards to cultural and religious diversity. Yet there is no empirical research that shows that the East is more racist and xenophobic than the West. What else could explain this dangerous phenomenon?

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Passenger Name Records – from Canada back to the EU

Passenger name records have been a highly sensitive topic of EU legislation for years. The new opinion 1/15 of the Court of Justice needs to be read against this political background. The opinion will have major repercussions both for the relations of the EU with partner countries and the development of the EU’s own counterterrorism or internal security policy. 

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Data Protection, Data Transfers, and International Agreements: the CJEU’s Opinion 1/15

On 26 July the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) issued Opinion 1/15, which is its most significant ruling on the international dimensions of data protection law since its 2015 judgment in the Schrems case. In Opinion 1/15, the Grand Chamber of the Court found that the draft agreement between the EU and Canada for the transfer of passenger name record (PNR) data may not be concluded in its current form, since several of its provisions are incompatible with EU fundamental rights law. As the Court’s first ruling on the compatibility of a draft international agreement with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the judgment has important implications for many areas of EU law.

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Is Poland’s President Duda on the Road to Damascus?

Does President Duda’s recent vetoes signal a more permanent change in his fidelities to his political stable and to the Constitution? An opportunity to witness the depth of his conversion arises soon. The untimely death of Professor Morawski, one of the anti-judges appointed to the Constitutional Tribunal (CT) by Duda in December 2015, has created a vacancy in the CT which must be filled soon. The big question is with whom.

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Why Do We Need International Legal Standards for Constitutional Referendums?

Important substantive and institutional guarantees ensure the democratic quality of the general elections. In the case of a referendum these substantive and procedural guarantees are almost completely missing. Only international soft law deals with the question of the democratic quality of the referendum. Recent experience with Turkey, Hungary and other places show that this needs to change.

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Who’s next? On the Future of the Rule of Law in Poland, and why President Duda will not save it

With the latest draft laws about the judiciary, the Law and Justice party (PiS) has crossed yet another line. President Duda’s announcement of a veto appears on first sight to present an obstacle to PiS’ march towards completely unrestricted, unitary state power. In this post, I will examine first what effects the PiS drafts will have on the independence of the judiciary by the hands of PiS and then, whether or not President Duda’s so-called veto holds what it seems to promise.

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Farewell to the Separation of Powers – On the Judicial Purge and the Capture in the Heart of Europe

After the cautious and carefully prepared dismantling of the Polish Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court’s independence was now swept away in the twinkling of an eye. Late at night on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, a draft law virtually constituting an overnight demolition of the Supreme Court was proposed. This amendment heralds the death knell for the rule of law in Poland.

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