Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte: die „Loi Rana Plaza“ vor dem französischen Conseil constitutionnel

Frankreich hat mit der „Loi Rana Plaza“ das weltweit erste Gesetz zur Regelung einer verbindlichen menschenrechtlichen Sorgfaltspflicht für Unternehmen geschaffen. Das Gesetz hat nun seine erste Bewährungsprobe bestanden. Im Rahmen einer präventiven Normenkontrolle entschied der Conseil constitutionnel am 23. März 2017 über die Verfassungsmäßigkeit des Gesetzes. Lediglich die vorgesehene Sanktion der Geldbuße kassierte er und gab dem Gesetz im Übrigen grünes Licht.

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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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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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Marine Le Pen: a Constitutional Program Threatening the French Constitutional Regime

The recent publication of Marine Le Pen’s presidential program has been followed by many comments from the media, specialists and policy makers analysing her economic, social or security propositions. But one particular point has been missed: the different constitutional amendments she intends to achieve. With this constitutional program, her goal is to deeply reform the organization of the French state and its institutions. It is an unnamed constitutional revolution since Ms. Le Pen’s objective is to strike down French liberal democracy in order to in store an almost absolutist presidential regime.

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Marine Le Pen’s Constitutional Programme on the European Union: Use, Misuse and Abuse of Referenda

Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate for President of France, was asked in an interview about her constitutional programme should she be elected in May. Her answer can be summarised in one word: referenda. One of them would be, of course, about “Frexit”, the other would include a vast set of amendments to the French Constitution and would take place just after the legislative elections. That, however, would not most likely not be the end of it.

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Religious Installations in French City Halls: A Christmas Crib Story

Christmas, in certain circumstances, has its place in the Republic. Judges have agreed in a plenary session reviewing two different Court of Appeal cases (courtyard of Melun’s town hall and hall of the departmental council of Vendée) that a Christmas crib in a public building doesn’t a priori represent a threat to secularism. In fact, the installation is legal, says the Conseil d’Etat, provided that particular circumstances give it « a cultural, artistic or festive character ». The decision is questionable for two main reasons: its foundation is doubtful, and its outcome unsatisfactory.

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French Constitutional Council Strikes Down “Blank Check" Provision in the 2015 Intelligence Act

Can intelligence agencies and their practice of secret state surveillance be reconciled with the rule of law? Is the unprecedented global debate on surveillance opened by the Snowden disclosures in 2013 bringing intelligence work closer to democratic standards? Last week, the French Constitutional Council indirectly dealt with these pressing questions by striking down a blank-check provision in the 2015 Intelligence Act, excluding “measures taken by public authorities to ensure, for the sole purpose of defending national interests, the surveillance and the control of Hertzian transmissions" from safeguards like the authorisation of the Prime Minister and the ex-ante opinion of an oversight commission.

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Can private undertakings hide behind “religious neutrality”?

Is the pursuit of religious neutrality an acceptable aim for public and private organisations alike, on the basis of which they may prohibit their employees from wearing religious signs or apparel whilst at work? In two pending cases before the CJEU, the Advocates General seem to arrive at opposite conclusions on this point. To solve this puzzle, I think it is crucial to see that there are two radically different reasons why a private-sector company may wish to adopt an identity of religious neutrality, which reflect two distinct types of interest a company may have in religious neutrality: a business interest and an interest as a member of society.

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Islam on the Beach – The Burkini Ban in France

In 1964, a young woman wearing a monokini played table tennis on the Croisette, the famous road along the shore in the city of Cannes. She was sentenced for outraging public decency. Half a century later, the mayor of Cannes just banned on his beaches the burkini, a full-body swimsuit weared by some Muslim women. Some other coastal cities followed, one administrative tribunal confirmed, and a new controversy around the keyword “laïcité” was born. It seems to me that the burkini-ban is a legal error and a political mistake.

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Kopftuchverbot am Arbeitsplatz als Diskriminierung

Ein pauschales Kopftuchverbot am Arbeitsplatz, so EuGH-Generalanwältin Eleanor Sharpston, ist diskriminierungsrechtlich kaum zu rechtfertigen. Dabei möchte die Generalanwältin den Fall offenbar zum Anlass nehmen, ein paar sehr grundsätzliche Dinge zum Verbot unmittelbarer Diskriminierung im Europarecht klar zu stellen.

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