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 End of the Grand Coalition and the Significance of Stable Majorities in the European Parliament

A few years ago, the German Constitutional Court had to rule on the significance of stable majorities in the European Parliament. Such majorities were not terribly significant, was the conclusion reached by the Court – at least not important enough to justify a three percent threshold for elections to the EP, laid down in German federal law. Under the constitutional conditions of the moment, the Court explained, the formation of a stable majority was not needed in the EU ‘for electing and continuously supporting a government capable of acting’. These past few weeks, a crisis has been unfolding in Brussels and Strasbourg that may turn out to be an interesting test case for the German Court’s analysis.

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The EU General Data Protection Regulation: Powerful Tool for Data Subjects?

Two months ago, the European Parliament and the Council have enacted the European General Data Protection Regulation as the result of a 4 years running legislative procedure. For a long time, it was uncertain whether the regulation could be passed at all: Not only has there been considerable opposition by EU Member States, but there have also been about 4.000 amendments by Parliament, accompanied by an enormous engagement of lobby groups.

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Where do we stand on the reform of the EU’s Court System? On a reform as short-sighted as the attempts to force through its adoption

Last October, the CJEU has proposed to double the number of judges at the General Court to help tackling its growing workload. The legislative process this proposal is currently undergoing appears to be marred by a pattern of procedural irregularities whose only aim seems to be the speedy adoption of the reform and – more troublingly – may also be construed as a joint advocacy strategy designed to systematically eliminate any opportunity for a public, well informed and evidence-based debate. Should this reform go through (as it appears likely), damaging evidence might yet come to light and the authority and legitimacy of relevant EU institutions will be further undermined at a time where they have little to spare.

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