POSTS BY Carolyn Moser

Awakening dormant law – or the invocation of the European mutual assistance clause after the Paris attacks

After the terrorist attacks of November 13th, France has invoked the mutual assistance clause in the European Treaty. What does this clause actually imply? The short answer to this question is that nobody precisely knows. The statement made by the French Defence Minister on 17 November qualified the invocation of Article 42(7) TEU as a mainly political act – implying that it is symbolic in nature. This, however, is not the whole story. France is requesting her European neighbours to stand united against external security threats – not only by declaratory statements, but by concrete military commitments. This demand, in turn, will impact on the future course of European security and defence, a policy which France has always been keen to enhance.

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Frankreichs Verfassungsrat setzt Ämterhäufung bei Parlamentariern ein Ende

Mitte Februar hat der französische Verfassungsrat das Schlusskapitel eines Politik- und Verfassungskrimis geschrieben, der seit drei Jahrzehnten andauert: Die Weisen haben das verfassungsausführende Gesetz (loi organique) zum Verbot der Ämterhäufung bei Parlamentariern (cumul des mandats) – eine in Frankreich beliebte Praxis – für weitestgehend verfassungskonform erklärt.

Aufgrund der neuen Bestimmungen wird es den Mitgliedern des nationalen Parlaments, bestehend aus Assemblée Nationale und Sénat, ab 2017 nicht mehr möglich sein, neben ihrem Parlamentsmandat ein lokales Exekutivamt auszuüben. Diese Neuerungen, welche im Vorfeld zu hitzigen Debatten und zu einem Zerwürfnis der beiden Kammern des Parlaments geführt hatten, dürften das institutionelle Gefüge der Legislative und somit den Politikbetrieb der Republik in naher Zukunft auf den Kopf stellen.A month ago, the French Constitutional Council conducted the final episode of a political and constitutional saga which has lasted for three decades: The judges declared largely constitutional an Institutional Act (loi organique) prohibiting the plurality of offices (cumul des mandats) with national MPs, that is to say members of the Assemblée Nationale and the Sénat.

According to the new provisions, MPs will from 2017 onwards no longer be permitted to hold a local public office of executive nature in parallel to their parliamentary mandate – which is a widespread practice in France. It is expected that the reform, which had led to heated public debate and to a discord of the two chambers of Parliament, will profoundly alter the institutional landscape of the legislative branch and, hence, French politics.

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