Conditionality through the lens of the CJEU: a “blurry” view

From the very beginning of the Eurozone crisis, conditionality progressively entered into the vocabulary and the normative sphere of the EU economic governance. At the time of the first assistance package to Greece, conditionality was just an emergency tool set in the bilateral Loan Agreements, signed by Greece and other Members States. However, after the establishment of emergency funds like the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), and especially after the creation of a permanent institution, a sort of “European mirror image of the IMF” – the ESM – conditionality has become a sort of leitmotiv of the European response to the economic crisis or, even, a necessary requirement according to the ECJ.

Continue Reading →

In the shadow of sovereign debt conditionality: the rise of spending conditionality in the EU

For the last seven years, sovereign debt conditionality dominated the European public discourse. Courts called to adjudicate heavy conditions impeaching on constitutional core of EU nations. National parliaments vocally debating the democratic legitimacy of austerity measures. Executives busy implementing generous reform packages. Scholars actively commenting on the constitutional implications of crisis-driven conditionalities.

Continue Reading →

Chronos and Kairos of Constitutionalism – The Polish case

Τοῖς πᾶσι χρόνος καὶ καιρὸς τῷ παντὶ πράγματι ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανόν. This Septuagint translation of a verse from the book of Ecclesiastes points to a fundamental distinction regarding the transience – the distinction between chronos (time) and kairos (a right moment). Time is everlasting and consists of singular kairoi. Kairos, being its constitutive part, should not defy the structure of time. This distinction bares on the way in which we should understand any change of a constitution that claims to belong to free and equal citizens.

Continue Reading →

The constitutional framework of power distribution within the Eurasian integration process: bellum omnium contra omnes

After the fall of the Soviet Union, many post-Soviet countries pursued integration among themselves, leading to various regional arrangements. Those had little success for an array of reasons stemming from considerable differences among the many integrating states. Eventually, an understanding came along, that in order to make things work, a change in approach is needed. Among others, such a change would require an efficient legal framework and stronger regional institutions capable of upholding it. These features were played with on the way to the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which was obviously inspired by certain narratives about the EU integration process, and eventually launched in 2015.

Continue Reading →

The EU General Data Protection Regulation: Powerful Tool for Data Subjects?

Two months ago, the European Parliament and the Council have enacted the European General Data Protection Regulation as the result of a 4 years running legislative procedure. For a long time, it was uncertain whether the regulation could be passed at all: Not only has there been considerable opposition by EU Member States, but there have also been about 4.000 amendments by Parliament, accompanied by an enormous engagement of lobby groups.

Continue Reading →

The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s case with the ECHR: an ambivalent relationship

Hungary was the first country in the post-Soviet bloc that joined the Council of Europe and ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and this remains a matter of national pride. While the Convention is perceived as a yardstick in human rights protection that may not be circumvented, still lively debate surrounds the authority of the case-law of European Court of Human Rights. The recent constitutional reform has left the status of the Convention largely untouched. The Convention still enjoys a supra-legislative rank: it is subordinated to the Fundamental Law but is superior to all other pieces of legislation.

Continue Reading →

Transformation of EU Constitutionalism

The EU constitutionalism has been transformed. For the worse. The causes for that are well known. They are the sum of consecutive, unresolved financial, economic, political, humanitarian and security crises. This post is not interested into causal relationship between the crises. It centers instead on their aggregate negative outcome and the possible way ahead. It asks what exactly the EU constitutionalism, as a dominant narrative of European integration, has (d)evolved into and what can be done to fix its fissures?

Continue Reading →

The referendum of the UK’s EU membership: No legal salve for its disenfranchised non-resident citizens

On Thursday 23rd June 2016, pursuant to the European Union Referendum Act 2015, a UK-wide referendum will be held on the question: ‘should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU’. Hitherto, much of the referendum debate has concerned immigration (to the UK) by EU citizens, exercising their mobility rights, with rather unsavoury rhetoric concerning deportation of criminals and ‘warnings’ about future arrivals from candidate accession states. Alongside immigration, leading campaigners have argued that the referendum is, at heart, a about questions of sovereignty and democracy.

Continue Reading →