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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The CJEU on Humanitarian Visa: Discovering ‘Un-Chartered’ Waters of EU Law

Limiting the scope of EU law vis-à-vis national legislative measures is one thing but creating un-Chartered territory in EU law is another. It is understandable why the Court would want to stay away from the currently toxic migration politics. But it is worrying that it is willing to further limit the scope of the Charter when it might be needed the most.

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State Reform in Greece: Legal and Practical Considerations

For the Greek drama to be resolved on a long-term basis, the shift from the exclusive focus on finances to institutional arrangements is long overdue. Armin von Bogdandy and Michael Ioannidis convincingly set out the proposal’s significant advantages. At the same time, however, its implementation might raise a host of both legal and practical considerations.

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The Asymmetric Bet of Europe

One of the options in Jean-Claude Juncker’s White Paper on the Future of Europe is an asymmetric Europe. While some comparative lawyers still treat asymmetry as an exception in the life of federal polities, actually this concept has progressively acquired a key role in the history of federalism. In other words, today asymmetry is the rule rather than the exception in this field.

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Die transnationale wehrhafte Demokratie

Dürfen wir in Deutschland und Österreich die türkische Demokratie verteidigen? Schließlich bedrohen die Verfassungsreformpläne Erdogans zunächst einmal die türkische demokratische Grundordnung, nicht „unsere“. Können wir trotzdem Auftritte türkischer Politiker in Deutschland und Österreich verbieten, wenn sie für eine Staatsordnung werben, die wir mit „unserer“ für unvereinbar halten? Oder muss uns das Schicksal der liberalen Demokratie in der Türkei egal sein? Das ist die Frage nach der transnationalen wehrhaften Demokratie. Die EMRK könnte die Antwort darauf haben, denn sie ist der Türkei, Deutschland und Österreich gemein.

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