Leiden University

Posts by authors affiliated with Leiden University

02 May 2024

China’s Memory Laws

The study of ‘memory laws’ has seen a spectacular rise in recent years as governments worldwide are reverting to formal legislation to shape and secure their preferred historical discourses and outlaw narratives subverting these. Despite the increasingly global nature of this phenomenon, this budding scholarly genre has remained largely preoccupied with developments in Europe. Until very recently, Chinese memory laws have been overlooked in these discussions. It is time to start paying attention to them.

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29 January 2024
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A Way Forward?

While included in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR), academic and scientific freedom were for years hardly a focus for the EU. This no longer holds true. On 29 November 2023, the European Parliament invited stakeholders to discuss the state of academic freedom in Europe (STOA conference), including the role of the EU in its legal protection. The conference intertwines with two important developments, both driven by the EP. First, on 22 November 2023, the EP adopted its proposals for the amendment of the Treaties, with some relevant for academic freedom protection. Earlier this month, on 17 January 2024, the EP approved the Report calling on the Commission to initiate a legislative proposal on the promotion of the freedom of scientific research in the EU and providing recommendations on its content. In this blog post, we briefly discuss these two EP calls aimed at enhanced protection of academic and scientific freedom to assess to what extent they address the concerns raised by various stakeholders.

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20 December 2023
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Between Return and Protection

Last month, the ECJ responded to a preliminary reference of the Regional Court in Brno concerning Czechia’s so-called return procedure. The ECJ ruled that a third country national cannot be subject to a return decision if they applied for international protection and a first-instance decision on that application has not yet been delivered. Curiously, the ECJ thereby answered a question it had not actually been asked, while contradicting the conclusion of the Grand Chamber of the Czech Supreme Administrative Court (“SAC”), rendered shortly before. While the ECJ’s ruling will nonetheless improve some of the problems that have inhered within Czechia’s approach to international protection and return procedures, its failure to answer the referred question constitutes a missed opportunity to facilitate a productive dialogue with referring courts in an area of law where preliminary references have been exceedingly rare.

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05 September 2023

Reinventing a Broken Wheel

On 16 July, the European Commission and the Tunisian government signed a new strategic partnership on migration, sparking outrage by European parliamentarians, researchers and civil society actors given Tunisia’s autocratic turn since 2021 and the recent flaring up of racial and xenophobic violence. The deal is emblematic of the blind spots of trans-Mediterranean migration cooperation over the past decades: First, a growing reliance on informality and symbolic politics at the expense of accountability; and second, a persistently Euro-centrist perspective that overlooks the dynamics South of the Mediterranean, with dire policy consequences.

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19 May 2023

The Contractual Rights and Obligations of Prosumers on Social Media Platforms

How can contract law contribute to a fair balance between the rights of prosumers and social media platforms? This contribution assesses the values that contract law should reflect, proposing the recognition of use value alongside the exchange value of products on the market. It then considers which mechanisms in contract law could be employed to do justice to both values.

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28 March 2023
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The Council’s Conditionality Decision as a Violation of Academic Freedom?

On 15 December 2022, the Council’s suspended various EU budgetary commitments towards Hungary, the first application of the so-called Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation. The measure also froze access to Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe funds for 21 Hungarian universities that remain under the management of public interest trusts, thereby effectively denying access to these funds to a large pool of scholars and students. The decision raises important questions regarding the scope of protection afforded to final beneficiaries of EU funds. We suggest that a deeper engagement with the rights and interests of final beneficiaries in the context of the Conditionality Regulation necessitates a reconceptualisation of the EU’s understanding of and responsibility for academic freedom.

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08 September 2022

Pakistan’s Call for Climate Reparations

Torrential monsoon rains have triggered Pakistan’s worst floods this century. So far, at least 1,300 people have been killed and a third of the country is under flood waters. Entire villages have been washed away and an estimated three million children are in need of humanitarian assistance. Against this backdrop, Pakistan’s minister for climate change has called for rich nations to pay reparations to developing States suffering climate loss and damage. In this blog post, I will put the claims for climate reparations in an international law context.

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23 December 2021

Reinforcing Patterns

Despite its revolutionary potential, the movement towards amplifying open access can backfire if it does not expand quickly across the world. As it is today, the vast majority of authors who publish open access are based in European research institutions. By making these authors’ works more easily available than others, open access initiatives may end up dictating the terms of the international legal debate around the world.

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23 November 2021
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On A Road to Nowhere

On Wednesday 24 November the Polish Constitutional Tribunal will, once again, review the extent to which existing international legal obligations, that were freely entered into by the Republic of Poland, are actually compatible with the Polish Constitution.

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25 October 2021

Constitutional Review in Sight?

On 18 October, the Venice Commission published its first ever opinion on the Netherlands dealing with the Childcare Allowance Scandal. It includes a list of rather detailed recommendations for the legislator, the executive and the judicial branch, also pointing at the prohibition of constitutional review which is one of the hallmarks of the Dutch Constitution. While its conclusions are not groundbreaking, the opinion of the Venice Commission must be welcomed for highlighting the crucial connection between individual justice, proportionality and fundamental rights.

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11 October 2021
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Resisting Membership Fatalism

While we fully agree with the main thrust of the editorial ‘The Exit Door’ on Verfassungsblog last Friday, we would like to warn against its seemingly fatalistic mindset. Yes, a Polexit from the EU is not on the table until the Polish government itself pushes the Article 50 TEU button, but the other EU Member States do not have to idly wait ‘hoping’ for a resolution to the crisis.

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18 June 2021

“Non-Existent”

Last Tuesday, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal delivered a ruling which makes the extent of the crisis of the rule of law in Poland unambiguously clear. And it shows how the gap with Europe is widening day by day. If the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe lets this pass, it will not only be a blow to the authority and effectiveness of the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights. Then the guardians of the rule of law will have surrendered even faster than we thought.

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