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17 January 2024
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Germany Blocks Europe-Wide Protection of Women Against Violence

Gender-based violence has dramatically increased in the European Union (EU) in recent years. In particular women are widely affected by rape. On 8 March 2022, the Commission presented a Draft Directive for comprehensive, effective and enforceable protection against gender-based violence in all EU Member States. The main point of contention in the negotiations, which could ultimately prevent the adoption of the Draft Directive, is the introduction of the common definition of the criminal offence of rape. The Directive aims to harmonize across Europe the definition of rape as a violation of the consent-based sexual act. Yet, twelve Member States, with Germany and France at the forefront, are not convinced that the EU has a sufficient legal base to regulate that issue. This article highlights the arguments for a common regulation of the criminal offence of rape in the EU under Art. 83 (1) TFEU against the doubts raised by the German Federal Ministry of Justice.

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13 October 2023

Obstinate Choices

Denmark is currently going through a full-blown intelligence scandal. It includes charges of illegal activity lodged by the Danish Intelligence Oversight Board (TET) against the Danish foreign intelligence service (FE), as well as a range of criminal cases brought against the former head of FE, a former minister of defence, and a former intelligence officer on charges of leaking classified information. In this post, I argue that these scandals can best be understood through the lens of a series of obstinate choices made by the Danish government and its representatives. Seemingly, because key decision-makers lacked trust and got fed up with leaks, the situation was handled aggressively from the start, as a matter of principle. I explain the complex scandal but focus on specifics only in the case against former minister of defence, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, as his case is the most clear-cut and observable for outsiders.

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18 July 2023
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Changing Tides in European Election Law

On 15 June, the Bundestag approved a minimum percentage threshold for elections to the European Parliament (EP). Shortly before the summer break, the Bundesrat (Federal Council) also agreed to the clause. German lawmakers already failed twice in this endeavour before the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, short BVerfG). This time, the German legislator can refer to a binding EU legal act backing its reform efforts. This means the electoral threshold must now be treated (also by the constitutional court) as determined by EU law – with all consequences. However, even a 2% hurdle is not 100% safe from the BVerfG.

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14 July 2023
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Vorzeichenwechsel im Europawahlrecht

Der Bundestag hat am 15. Juni einer Sperrklausel für die Wahlen zum Europäischen Parlament zugestimmt. Kurz vor der Sommerpause schloss sich auch der Bundesrat an. Der deutsche Gesetzgeber unternimmt auf ein Neues, womit er schon zweimal vor dem Bundesverfassungsgericht gescheitert ist. Dieses Mal hat der deutsche Gesetzgeber bei der Einführung der Sperrklausel einen verbindlichen EU-Rechtsakt im Rücken. Damit geht allerdings einher, dass die Sperrklausel nun (auch verfassungsgerichtlich) mit allen Konsequenzen als determiniertes Unionsrecht behandelt werden muss. Doch auch eine 2 %-Hürde ist nicht zu 100% sicher vor dem BVerfG.

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03 December 2022

A Constitution’s Hollow Promise

On 26 November 2022, the Taiwanese people had their authentic constitutional voice heard for the first time in history by casting votes in a referendum on a constitutional amendment that would lower the age of voting from 20 to 18, and that of candidacy from 23 to 18 except as otherwise provided by the Constitution or legislation.  Given that Taiwan’s current Constitution was adopted by a Constituent National Assembly in China in 1946 when Japan still held sovereignty over Taiwan de jure and all the previous constitutional amendments were adopted without receiving direct approval from the Taiwanese people, the holding of referendum itself is historic.  Yet, this latest round of constitutional reform on Taiwan’s road towards an ever more democratic politics ends up as a damp squib.

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12 August 2022

Why Banning Russians from Schengen Is Unlawful

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Prime Minister of Finland and others have been calling for an EU-wide ban of Russian citizens from Schengen visas. Unquestionably, the horrible crimes perpetrated by the Russian state should be punished. But Russians are citizens of a totalitarian state, they are not Putin. And whether we like it or not, there is no legal way under current EU law to adopt a blanket citizenship-based ban against Russians acquiring Schengen visas. Even more: political attention paid to it by persons in leadership positions is deeply surprising, if not irresponsible.

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02 August 2022

Marktlogik ist kein Rechtsgebot

Am 21. Juli hat Christine Lagarde das Transmission Protection Instrument (TPI) der EZB vorgestellt. Die Ankündigung des TPI hat in Deutschland, wieder einmal, eine Diskussion um die Rolle der Märkte bei der Beurteilung der öffentlichen Finanzen von Mitgliedstaaten und die Berechtigung der Zentralbanken zum Eingriff in das Marktgeschehen entfacht. Tatsächlich sprechen gewichtige verfassungs- und demokratietheoretische Argumente dagegen, die Anleihepreisbildung ausschließlich dem Markt zu überlassen. Es handelt sich dabei weder um ein Gebot der Wirtschafts- und Währungsunion noch des grundgesetzlichen Demokratieprinzips.

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27 May 2022

Dütt is Berlin

Aufkehren hinter dem großen hauptstädtischen Wahl-Debakel

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20 February 2022

Blockieren bis zum Ausnahmezustand

Am 14. Februar 2022 hat der kanadische Premierminister Justin Trudeau erstmals seit 1970 den Ausnahmezustand in Kanada erklärt. Die Maßnahme wird seitens seiner Partei vor allem mit den ökonomischen Folgen der Blockaden von Grenzübergängen und den Ereignissen in Ottawa begründet. Ob die Gerichte im Falle einer Anfechtung die Maßnahmen für rechtmäßig erklären werden, ist derzeit nicht absehbar.

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07 December 2021

Verfahren eingestellt, Problem gelöst?

Am 2. Dezember 2021 hat die EU-Kommission das Vertragsverletzungsverfahren gegen Deutschland wegen des PSPP-Urteils des BVerfG vom 5. Mai 2020 eingestellt. Dieser Einstellungsentscheidung ist mit Erleichterung zu begegnen.

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11 November 2021

Die Ver