Memory Wars of Commercial Worth – The Legal Status of the Red Star in Hungary

With this blogpost for the T.M.C. Asser Institute – Verfassungsblog joint symposium, I would like to draw attention to another facet in the legal governance of historical memory, that regarding the use of totalitarian symbols of the past. This issue remains particularly pertinent in the region of Central and Eastern Europe in parallel to the widely discussed decline in the rule of law.   

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30 days, six months… forever? Border control and the French Council of State

For Christmas 2017, the French Council of State – the Supreme Court for administrative matters in France – gave a nasty present to those attached to the free movement of persons in the Schengen area. In a ruling issued on 28 December (see here, in French), it upheld the decision of the French Government to reintroduce, for the ninth time in a row, identity control at its “internal” borders, i.e. borders with other Schengen countries – even though checks at internal borders are not, in fact, systematically performed. This decision, issued without even bringing the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling, sets aside, probably unlawfully, the time limit set by the Schengen Borders Code.

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The Commission takes a step back in the fight for the Rule of Law

The European Commission has filed a complaint against Poland with the Court of Justice of the European Union based on Article 258 TFEU, in connection with the Polish Act on the Common Courts System. Fines may be charged on Poland as a result of the case, but the Commission has probably quietly withdrawn some of its charges, apparently opting for the somewhat modified “Hungarian scenario”. The impact of this new approach on the reversibility of the changes introduced to the Polish judiciary will be very limited.

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Catalonia in deadlock, and why that is a European problem

The Catalan territorial conflict is stuck. No clear solutions are on the table after the elections of December 21st. Catalans and Spaniards are failing so far to find solutions to the problem. But it is our European common problem and our common responsibility to try to help them. More specifically, EU institutions should be doing much more of what they have done so far. I blame them for their passivity in the last couple of months.

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The European Commission’s Activation of Article 7: Better Late than Never?

On Wednesday, the European Commission reacted to the continuing deterioration of the rule of law situation in Poland. The remaining question, of course, is why this argument has been used in the context of 7(1) as opposed of 7(2) given that the situation on the ground in Poland is clearly – in the view of the Commission, the Venice Commission and countless other actors – one of clear and persistent breach of values, as opposed to a threat thereof. The explanation might lie beyond the simple difficulty of the procedural requirements related to the sanctioning stage.

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Taking the EU-Turkey Deal to Court?

The EU-Turkey deal on the return of refugees is one of the most controversial policy steps taken by the EU in recent years. The EU General Court chose to sidestep the difficult legal questions raised by the deal by dismissing these cases, ruling it had no jurisdiction to review the deal on the ground that the Statement was not an act of Union institutions, but that of Member States. Will the CJEU use this opportunity to set the record straight by establishing who had the competence to conclude the EU-Turkey deal?

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A Bridge over Troubled Water – a Criminal Lawyers’ Response to Taricco II 

The recent CJEU judgment in M.A.S., M.B. (hereinafter Taricco II) raises more questions than it answers on when Member States can apply higher standards of rights in criminal proceedings. Previous case law, i.e. Taricco I and Melloni, pervaded the primacy of EU law, but from Jeremy F. we also know that Member States enjoy a […]

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Im Technokraten-Panzer auf dem Weg zur Europäischen Armee

Heute hat der Rat der EU das so genannte PESCO-Projekt beschlossen. Es soll wesentlich zur Errichtung einer europäischen Verteidigungsunion beitragen. Es ist rundweg zum Staunen, wie sich nach all den kritischen europapolitischen Grundsatzdiskussionen der vergangenen Jahre bei der Militär- und Rüstungsintegration offenbar die Fehler der Vergangenheit wiederholen. Es ist das technokratisch-funktionalistische Europa, das hier voranschreitet, und nicht das demokratische Europa, das aus der offenen Diskussion der europäischen Bürgerschaft entsteht.

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Belittling the Primacy of EU Law in Taricco II

The Taricco II judgement handed down by the CJEU on 5 December 2017 is a telling and worrying example of a weakly reasoned court decision and the high price at which such weakness comes. It is a judgement that disregards legally problematic questions, seemingly subordinating argumentative consistency to the constraints of legal policy in a climate increasingly critical towards EU law and institutions. The (potential) collateral damage of this approach is considerable.

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What’s in a name? A Brexit we can all enjoy

Northern Ireland will have a ,hard Brexit’ as any other part of the UK and, at the same time, be subject to a ,regulatory alignment’ with the Republic of Ireland and, hence, the EU. Such is the elegance of this solution, that one might be tempted to mistake it for a genuine policy innovation. In fact, using a made up name for something that you are already doing and calling it ‘new’ has a long pedigree and has been used aplenty.

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