POSTS BY Daniel Sarmiento

The EU and the Catalan Crisis

The events of the past week in Catalunya (and of the weeks that will follow) are very serious and worrying. Catalunya is a region of a Member State of the EU that has begun a unilateral process of independence, disregarding the Constitution, its Statute of Autonomy and the opposition of half of the Catalan population. It’s a remarkable challenge for Spanish democracy. It’s a challenge for the EU as well.

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The Singapore Silver Bullet

Is the CJEU’s Opinion on the Singapore free trade agreement a boost for Brexit? After reading the Opinion my feeling is exactly the opposite. The Court has made a clever juggling exercise with Christmas presents for everybody. But in fact, the Court has saved the best Christmas present for itself. And there are hardly any gifts for Britain. In fact, the Opinion contains a paragraph that could blow up the entire Brexit process.

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The Great Repeal Bill and the Charter of Fundamental Rights – not a promising start

On the day Brexit happens EU Law will be incorporated into the UK legal system, including the entirety of the Court of Justice’s case-law. This is a huge digestion of rules and judicial rulings, unprecedented in the way and speed in which it will take place. However, there is a piece of EU Law that will not be incorporated into UK Law. This is no ordinary or irrelevant piece. It is the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. It is another revealing sign of the impact that Brexit will have in the UK and, above all, for UK citizens and their rights.

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An Instruction Manual to Stop a Judicial Rebellion (before it is too late, of course)

2016 was not a good year for the EU. Among many other things, one of the EU’s proudest achievements, its judiciary, has shown the first signs of worrying instability: In Germany, Denmark and Italy, high-level courts have openly and harshly declared their dissatisfaction with rulings by the European Court of Justice. I would not say that these are nationalist overreactions. These are worrying (and I would add justified) signs of something going wrong.

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Miller, Brexit and the (maybe not to so evil) Court of Justice

As strange as this might sound, hardcore Brexiteers have now their closest and most reliable ally not at home. But in what they have considered to be, all these years, the evil, monstrous, devilish, undemocratic, unelected, corrupt and dictatorial Court of Justice of the European Union.

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Awakenings: the "Identity Control" decision by the German Constitutional Court

The GCC has applied, for the first time, its “identity control” to a case fully covered by EU Law. In the end, it quashes the decision of the instance court but it states that EU and German law are perfectly in line with the solution it comes to. What is all the fuss about? Why has the GCC made an “identity control” when the Framework Decision solves the case anyway in the same terms? It seems as if the GCC is sending a message to Luxembourg. It is a harmless judgment on the facts, but a very important one on the symbolic side.

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What Schrems, Delvigne and Celaj tell us about the state of fundamental rights in the EU

The overall message looks puzzling. First, privacy is a super-fundamental right that reigns supreme above all other rights after the Court’s decision in Schrems. Second, national electoral rules governing the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament come under the scope of application of the Charter, but Member States can restrict such a right as long they do so in a proportionate way, says the Court in Delvigne. And third, illegal immigrants who have already been ordered to abandon the territory of the EU can be subject to criminal prosecution if they ever return, according to the Court in Celaj. In sum, Privacy is a super-fundamental right. The right to vote is quite super, but not as much. The rights to liberty and free movement are not super at all, at least when they concern third country nationals. Is this the kind of case-law one would expect from a fundamental rights court? Does this make any sense at all? Maybe it does.

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Democratic Russian Roulette

It is inevitable to speak about Greece today. There is a generalized feeling of astonishment about the Greek government’s decision to hold a referendum on the Eurogroup’s second-to-last offer laid down on Thursday. The astonishment has basically two strands: some say it is economic and political suicide for Greece; some say it is the most dignified way out for the Greek people (and its government). I am personally not astonished. I am enraged.

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