A Stress Test for Europe’s Judiciaries

The rule of law, judicial independence and separation of powers are values guaranteed in constitutions of member states of the Council of Europe. Nevertheless, in recent years, a number of challenges to these accepted values have emerged in different countries all over Europe. Events in countries like Hungary, Ukraine, Slovakia and Turkey should be mentioned in this context. Poland’s reforms of its judiciary (some of them still in draft stage) are the latest and gravest example of this European crisis. While such threats to judicial independence in individual states are a fundamental problem for European co-operation based on shared values of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, European states should not wait for remedies to be found on the European level. Rather, European states should learn from the challenges in Poland and other countries to critically review the constitutional and legal framework of their own national judiciaries. To facilitate this process, we suggest to stress test Europe’s judiciaries.

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Summer of Love: Karlsruhe Refers the QE Case to Luxembourg

It seems that the BVerfG has learned a lesson. Yesterday’s referral about the the European Central Bank’s policy of Quantitative Easing (QE) sets a completely different tone. It reads like a modest and balanced plea for judicial dialogue, rather than an indictment. Fifty years after the original event, a new Summer of Love seems to thrive between the highest judicial bodies. It shows no traces of the aplomb with which Karlsruhe presented its stance to Luxembourg three years ago.

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Linking Efficiency with Fundamental Rights in the Dublin System: the Case of Mengesteab

The recent CJEU decision "Mengesteab" has two significant consequences for Member States. First, applicants have a right to challenge the procedural steps by which Member States arrive at decisions regarding responsibility for protection applications to insure their fidelity to the rules prescribed in the Dublin Regulation. Second, the duty of Member States to begin assessing which state holds this responsibility engages as soon as the competent authority identified pursuant to article 35(1) of the regulation becomes aware of a request for international protection.

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The Opinion of Advocate General Bot in Taricco II: Seven “Deadly” Sins and a Modest Proposal

The wind of populism is blowing across Europe and courts (including constitutional and supreme courts) are not immune therefrom. Within this context, the enforcement of the constitutional identity clause to contrast the application and, sometimes, the primacy of EU law would be a powder keg waiting to be lit. In the latest act in the Taricco saga, Advocate General Bot in his opinion in Taricco II does nothing to defuse it – on the contrary.

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A 50/50 Ball: The East versus the EU in the Refugee Relocation Game

Last week, Advocate General Yves Bot dismissed the claims of Hungary and Slovakia against the EU refugee relocation scheme. The Commission has launched an infringement procedure against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for not fulfilling their quota. The East/West divide in the matter of refugee relocation could be seen as evidence that the former communist countries are culturally backwards, liberally underdeveloped, and have low tolerance levels in regards to cultural and religious diversity. Yet there is no empirical research that shows that the East is more racist and xenophobic than the West. What else could explain this dangerous phenomenon?

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Subjektive Rechte aus der Dublin-Verordnung: Der Fall Mengesteab vor dem EuGH

Neben der Geschichte der Dublin-Verordnung als äußerst zähem System einer ungerechten Zuständigkeitsverteilung zwischen Staaten gibt es eine zweite Geschichte der Dublin-Verordnung: Die langsame Stärkung der subjektiven Rechte von Asylbewerbern. Diese Geschichte erhält ein weiteres Kapitel mit dem diese Woche verkündeten Urteil Mengesteab des Europäischen Gerichtshofs. Die Entscheidung ist hochrelevant für die Praxis, weil sie die Fristenberechnung betrifft, bis wann ein Asylsuchender in einen anderen Mitgliedstaat gemäß Dublin-Zuständigkeit zurückgewiesen werden kann. Und die Entscheidung markiert zugleich, dass angesichts politischer Lethargie die größte Hoffnung für eine Veränderung des festgefahrenen Dublin-Systems in den Klagemöglichkeiten liegt.

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Klarheit im Gemischtwarenladen „Flüchtlingskrise“: Zu den Urteilen des EuGH in den Fällen Jafari und A.S.

Mit den Urteilen „zur Flüchtlingskrise“ vom 26. Juli 2017 hat der EuGH gezeigt, dass er trotz seiner Sonderrolle, die es ihm erlaubt europarechtliche Normen verbindlich auszulegen, seine Aufgabe als Judikative versteht und nicht als Legislative. Er legt das Recht so aus, wie es das Völker- und das Europarecht verlangen, nämlich in erster Linie nach Wortlaut sowie nach dem Zusammenhang und dem Ziel der Normen.

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Passenger Name Records – from Canada back to the EU

Passenger name records have been a highly sensitive topic of EU legislation for years. The new opinion 1/15 of the Court of Justice needs to be read against this political background. The opinion will have major repercussions both for the relations of the EU with partner countries and the development of the EU’s own counterterrorism or internal security policy. 

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Gestaltung und Verantwortung − Asyl-Entscheidungen des EuGH als Rückspiel an die Politik?

Den jüngsten Urteilen des EuGH im Umfeld des Gemeinsamen Europäischen Asylsystems (GEAS) gingen stets menschenrechtlich grundierte Schlussanträge von Generalanwälten voraus, die geeignet waren, ebenso grundlegende wie dysfunktionale Rechtsstrukturen desselben auf den Kopf zu stellen. Ein Blick auf drei jüngere und bedeutende Entscheidungen zeigt, dass der EuGH zumeist zu abweichenden dogmatischen Begründungen und auch Ergebnissen gekommen ist. Steckt dahinter das Gespür des Gerichtshofs, mit Blick auf den Gedanken der Gewaltenteilung nicht zu weit zu gehen, aber dennoch den Handlungsdruck auf die verantwortliche politische Ebene zu erhöhen?

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Data Protection, Data Transfers, and International Agreements: the CJEU’s Opinion 1/15

On 26 July the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) issued Opinion 1/15, which is its most significant ruling on the international dimensions of data protection law since its 2015 judgment in the Schrems case. In Opinion 1/15, the Grand Chamber of the Court found that the draft agreement between the EU and Canada for the transfer of passenger name record (PNR) data may not be concluded in its current form, since several of its provisions are incompatible with EU fundamental rights law. As the Court’s first ruling on the compatibility of a draft international agreement with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the judgment has important implications for many areas of EU law.

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