Judicial Review of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy: Lessons from the Rosneft case

On 28 March 2017, the Grand Chamber of the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) decided in a preliminary ruling that the restrictive measures adopted by the Council against Russian undertakings, including oil company Rosneft, are valid. The judgment is of constitutional significance. It clarifies the scope of the CJEU’s jurisdiction with respect to acts adopted in the sphere of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). In particular, it reveals that the EU system of judicial protection fully applies in relation to restrictive measures against natural and legal persons (so-called ‘targeted sanctions’).

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The Return of the Sovereign: A Look at the Rule of Law in Hungary – and in Europe

The Hungarian law makers have enacted a law that will make the operation of foreign-funded universities all but impossible, and aim to do the same to foreign-funded NGOs. These measures fail to meet even the most basic features of how legal rules are envisioned in a rule of law framework. The carefully crafted new Hungarian laws use the cloak of national security to stab the rule of law, as understood in Europe, in the heart.

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The Taming of Control – the Great Repeal Bill

Brexit is underway. For voters who wanted the UK to remain in the EU, the risk was how much would change after the UK leaves. For those who wanted the UK to leave the EU, the hope was that, indeed, much would change. Both sets of voters may be surprised at the efforts being placed on seeking continuity in governance. For Remain voters, while this may afford some comfort, it will simply reinforce the view that the better way of keeping things the same was for the UK to remain a Member State of the EU. For Leave voters, the outcome may be more ambiguous.

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European parliamentary sovereignty on the shoulders of national parliamentary sovereignties: A Reply to Sébastien Platon

We are really grateful that the Verfassungsblog has been one of the very first forums engaging the discussion on the "Treaty on the democratization of the governance of the euro area" (T-Dem). While the proposal has emerged in the framework of the current French presidential campaign, and is now widely debated in this context, it has been primarily thought of as a contribution to the ongoing transnational conversation over the future of the European Union. As authors of the proposal, we first wish to thank our colleague Sébastien Platon for launching an interesting discussion about the T-Dem.

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After Article 50 and Before Withdrawal: Does Constitutional Theory Require a General Election in the United Kingdom Before Brexit?

On March 29th, Theresa May will notify the EU Council of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU. This is the result of the Brexit referendum which, for the first time in the United Kingdom’s constitutional history, has opened up a powerful new source of popular sovereignty as a social fact. It is necessary for the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom that this new stream of popular social legitimacy is realigned with the existing stream of Parliamentary Sovereignty. The most effective and desirable way in which to achieve this would be for a General Election to take place.

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The Catalan Secessionist Movement and Europe – Remarks on the Venice Commission’s Opinion 827/2015

The Venice Commission has issued an opinion on a Spanish statute on the Constitutional Court’s authority. This statute is to be read as a concrete response to the Catalan secessionist movement. The Commission now reveals the European perspective on it…

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Protection with Hesitation: on the recent CJEU Decisions on Religious Headscarves at Work

The CJEU’s Achbita and Bougnaoui decisions on workplace bans of Islamic headscarves are disappointing as they are not providing enough guidance to the national courts concerning the criteria that they need to take into consideration in their attempts to find a balance between the rights in conflict. The judgments do not provide any criteria for the admissibility of dress codes other than that they should be neutral and objectively justified. Even those terms though are not analysed by the court in a sufficient manner.

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The CJEU’s headscarf decisions: Melloni behind the veil?

On 14 March 2017, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice (CJEU) handed down two landmark judgments on the Islamic headscarf at work. The twin decisions, Achbita and Bougnaoui, were eagerly awaited, not only because of the importance and delicacy of the legal issues the cases raised, but also because the Advocates General had reached different conclusions on those issues in their Opinions.

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Von Angstklauseln und Schwarze-Peter-Gesetzgebung: der Kindergeld-Gesetzentwurf des BMF

Deutschland soll Unionsbürgern für ihre Kinder, die nicht in Deutschland leben, das Kindergeld kürzen können. So will es das Bundesfinanzministerium, das aber auch weiß, dass das unionsrechtlich derzeit gar nicht geht. Offenbar meint man, im aufziehenden Wahlkampf auch hierzulande politisches Kapital aus der Überschrift „Wir würden ja gerne den Sozialmissbrauch bekämpfen, wenn nicht die böse EU wäre…“ ziehen zu können. Hat es so eine plumpe „Schwarzer Peter-Gesetzgebung“ in Deutschland schon einmal gegeben?

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Democratizing the Euro Area without the European Parliament: Benoît Hamon’s “T-Dem”

On the 10th March, the official candidate of the Socialist Party for the French presidential elections, Benoît Hamon, outlined his programme for the European Union. This programme, whilst being against austerity and in favour of more flexibility as regards EU requirements in terms of public budgets and public debts, comes with a treaty proposal, the draft treaty on the democratization of the governance of the euro area (dubbed « T-Dem »). This treaty, which was prepared by the candidate together with the superstar economist Thomas Piketty (who has joined his team) is supposed to bring more democracy to the governance of the Euro area. However noble (and necessary) this ambitious idea might seem, the way this draft treaty has been engineered raises not only political but also legal questions.

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