POSTS BY Andrew Duff

Is the European Parliament Missing its Constitutional Moment?

Over the years, step by step, the European Parliament has won a share of real constitutional power. At times, Parliament has had a decisive influence on the constitutive development of the European Union. At other times, MEPs have found it just as difficult as the European Council has done to make constitutional sense of a Union which is an uneasy compromise between federal and confederal elements. If EU governance is congenitally weak it may be because its institutions are unable to manage the dichotomy between supranational and intergovernmental. Today, circumstances have thrown the European Parliament a golden opportunity to take a major step in the federal direction – but it looks as though MEPs are going to retreat again.

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Everything you need to know about Article 50 (but were afraid to ask)

After the Brexit referendum, the new prime minister cannot dodge the fact that Article 50 is the only legal way for the UK to secede and that he or she, therefore, has a duty to pull the trigger. Not to deploy Article 50 would result in an even more disorderly situation than we have now. Article 50 it is. And if it were done, it were best done quickly.

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David Cameron’s EU reform claims: If not ‘ever closer union’, what?

UK Prime Minister David Cameron claims that the reforms he seeks for Britain will be good for the European Union as a whole. That proposition deserves examination. Here we focus on only one, but the most totemic of his demands – namely that the UK wins a ‘formal, legally-binding and irreversible’ exemption from the EU’s historic mission of ‘ever closer union of the peoples of Europe’. Jobs and immigration might stir the masses in the referendum campaign, but it is the issue of ‘ever closer union’ that divides most sharply the sovereignists from the federalists and could, if mishandled, do severe collateral damage to the rest of the EU.

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Why the British demands on national parliaments must be resisted

Six years ago today, the Treaty of Lisbon came into force, introducing an early warning system for national parliaments concerned with the principle of subsidiarity. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has called for more incisive rights of national parliaments to block EU legislation. The UK government, which normally preens itself on its flexibility and pragmatism, is trying to impose a one-size-fits-all approach on national parliaments, ignoring their very different mandates, powers, practices, timetables and levels of political interest and staff support. The fact is that waving subsidiarity cards is the least important EU function of national parliaments.

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How to make the Brexit deal formal, legally-binding and irreversible

Whatever one thinks (and one does) about the British renegotiation of its terms of EU membership, one can only marvel at the prime minister’s bravado when he insists on the changes being ‘formal, legally-binding and irreversible’. Nobody expected David Cameron to be so categorical when he embarked on his long-anticipated speech and ‘Dear Donald’ letter, eventually delivered on 10 November. Surely somebody warned him that to demand something so trenchant would pose huge legal problems?

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Cameron’s bid for irreversible guarantee means constitutional chaos

The UK Conservative government’s attempt to renegotiate the UK’s terms of membership of the European Union continues to distress Britain’s pro-Europeans, antagonise its anti-Europeans and bamboozle its EU partners.

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How to Leave the Euro More or Less Legally

There is much speculation, some of it silly, about how to leave the euro if you want to. The ordinary way requires unanimity in the Council, so Greece (or anyone else) could veto the plan. So is there a way for Greece to exit the euro by qualified majority voting (QMV)? Here the logical thing to do is turn to the decision-making process that applies to joining the euro, and reverse the thrust.

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EU Accession to the ECHR: What to Do Next

The Opinion is the latest manifestation of the historic tension in post-war Europe between federal and international law. This is important unfinished business. Nobody can be complacent about the opening up of a gap between the human rights regime of the Council of Europe and the fundamental rights regime of the European Union. A fall-out between the ECtHR at Strasbourg and the CJEU at Luxembourg is a bad thing for European rights protection.

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