Maastricht University

Posts by authors affiliated with Maastricht University

19 March 2024

The Fall of The Great Paywall for EU Harmonised Standards

In case C-588/21 P, the CJEU dismantled a foundational axiom of the European Standardisation System: the paywall of harmonised standards. The Court confirmed that harmonised standards are an integral part of EU law, mandating their free accessibility. In this commentary, I posit that the Court’s decision imposes a proactive publication obligation and challenges the existing copyright protection afforded to harmonised standards.

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16 February 2024
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Advancing Accountability

In Alkhatib and Others v. Greece, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has condemned Greece for yet another instance of human rights violations in border management. By underlining the importance of clear regulations and adequate evidence within border operations, the Court showed avenues to enhance the accountability framework for violations perpetrated at Europe’s borders. Its decision contrasts favourably with the approach taken in the EU at large, where both legislators and national and supranational courts generally disregard the opacity in regulations governing border operations and the difficulty of collecting evidence for migrants.

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05 February 2024

Unveiling Democracy

On 11 January, Advocate General Richard de la Tour delivered his Opinions in two cases, against the Czech Republic and Poland, which cautiously uncover part of the core of the EU value of democracy. The Commission launched these infringement cases against the two Member States back in November 2012 and April 2013 respectively. Now that the rule of law is a well-established principle of EU law, these cases present themselves as a chance to focus on a less explored value enshrined in Article 2 TEU. They allow the Court to construct a foundation to address prospective questions regarding democratic principles.

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13 June 2023

Enforcing Democracy

On the 8th of June, the Commission announced the opening of an infringement procedure against Poland in relation to the so-called ‘Lex Tusk’ or ‘anti-Tusk’ law. The principle of democracy is the first alleged violation specified by the Commission, based on Articles 2 and 10 TEU. Although proposed back in 2020 by observers of the Rule of Law crisis (see here and here), using this combination of articles to protect democracy is an unprecedented step by the institution. In a way, this follows the successful actions brought against Poland based on Articles 2 and 19 TEU (with ‘successful’ referring to the Court upholding the Commission’s complaints). It also recalls similarities with the Commission’s decision to invoke Article 2 TEU as a stand-alone provision in the infringement proceedings against Hungary’s ‘anti-LGBTQ’ law. The Commission is now testing out the legal waters to see if Article 10 TEU can be the trigger for ‘democracy’ in the same way Article 19 TEU is the trigger for ‘rule of law’.

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26 April 2023

Flexible Responsibility or the End of Asylum Law as We Know It?

On March 21 2023, the Council released a revised draft proposal for an Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (AMMR). It reintroduces the concept of ‘flexible responsibility’ — or ‘adaptable responsibility’ — into the EU’s migration management. Already included in the controversial Instrumentalisation Regulation of 14 December 2021, flexible responsibility is the idea that Member States should be allowed to derogate from normally applicable asylum standards when faced with sudden migratory pressures. While the Instrumentalisation Regulation was rejected in December 2022, this post will detail how the new AMMR draft threatens to reintroduce the idea of flexible/adaptable derogations — including, potentially, those originally foreseen in the Instrumentalisation Regulation — into the EU’s asylum framework and why we should reject it.

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Cannabis-Legalisierung light in Deutschland

Kurz nach Ostern 2023 hat der Bundesgesundheitsminister Karl Lauterbach die Pläne zur Cannabis-Legalisierung der Regierungskoalition vorgestellt. Von der im Koalitionsvertrag vereinbarten Total-Legalisierung ist nicht viel übriggeblieben. Waren die Legalisierungsdebatte und die entsprechenden Konzepte bis dahin durch eine bemerkenswerte Ignoranz gegenüber der EU und ihren Vorgaben geprägt, wurden die neuen Pläne einem europarechtlichen Realitätscheck unterzogen. Das ist gut so. Trotzdem ist Lauterbachs Konzept weiterhin extrem ambitioniert und unionsrechtlich auf Kante genäht.

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09 December 2022

No Rainbow without Rain?

On 6 December 2022, Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) revoked the broadcasting licence of the independent Russian TV channel ‘TV Rain’. The measures taken against TV Rain in Latvia raise intricate legal questions from an EU law point of view: Is the crackdown on the anti-war Russian TV channel compatible with EU-wide rules on audiovisual media? Can the Latvian government lawfully request YouTube to make TV rain’s channel inaccessible in Latvia? This blogpost argues that EU law is powerless when confronted with possibly unjustified national restrictions against media outlets and their growing spillover into the Internet sphere.

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18 October 2022
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Repasi vs Plaumann

On 10 October 2022 MEP René Repasi lodged an action for annulment against the complementary taxonomy delegated regulation 2022/1214. The same regulation is also challenged by Austria, a privileged applicant under Article 263 TFEU. This post focuses on the issue which MEP Repasi himself has noted is the most innovative of his action, namely the question whether an individual MEP has special legal standing to challenge an act (of the Commission) that affects how that MEP fulfils his parliamentary function.

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17 August 2022

Why Banning Russian Tourists from Schengen Might not Be Unlawful

Recently, politicians in different EU countries have suggested barring Russian tourists from visiting the EU. Such a ban would be in retaliation for the war waged by Russia against Ukraine. From a legal perspective, these suggestions raise the interesting question whether such a blanket ban would be lawful. From a legal perspective, the question is precisely whether there is a possibility to amend the existing acquis, in order to ban Russians from obtaining short term visas for the purpose of visiting Europe as tourists. It seems hardly tenable to argue that the EU (secondary) legislature is somehow bound by the ratio legis of the current Schengen visa system.

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15 July 2022

Welche Probleme das Cannabiskontrollgesetz lösen muss

Die Totallegalisierung von Cannabis in Deutschland schreitet rasch voran. In der zweiten Jahreshälfte will die Regierung einen Gesetzentwurf zum Cannabiskontrollgesetz präsentieren. Dieser wird mit Spannung erwartet, nicht nur von den vielen Lobbyisten und Investoren, die sich auf einen neuen Milliardenmarkt freuen. Auch die vielen deutschen Cannabiskonsumenten wollen verständlicherweise endlich Rechtssicherheit und Freiheit vor Strafverfolgung. Die Bundesregierung muss allerdings noch eine Reihe von offenen Fragen klären, bevor sie das Cannabiskontrollgesetz präsentieren kann.

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27 January 2022

Rights for Others, Firing Back?

Colonialism and decolonization have importantly shaped the constitutional trajectories of not only the colonized states, but also those of the colonizers. For the Netherlands, decolonization did not only dictate the pace of various constitutional reforms in the mid-20th century that were ‘needed’ to erase Indonesia (1948) and New Guinea (1963) from the text of the constitution, but also introduced new constitutional documents, such as the 1949 Dutch-Indonesian Union Charter and the 1954 Charter of the Kingdom. While it is necessary to critically analyze the impact of these postcolonial arrangements on former colonies, it is equally urgent to fill the profound gap in knowledge about the impact of colonialism and decolonization on domestic constitutional arrangements.

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23 November 2021

Das Cannabis-Dilemma

Die zukünftige deutsche Bundesregierung will Cannabis legalisieren. Wie das alles konkret umgesetzt werden soll, wird sich zeigen. Worüber erstaunlich wenig diskutiert wird, ist die Frage, ob die Legalisierung rechtlich überhaupt realisierbar ist. Europa- und völkerrechtlich bestehen hohe Hürden, die eine vollständige Legalisierung von Cannabis sehr schwierig, wenn nicht sogar unmöglich machen.

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05 September 2021

Human Ads Beyond Targeted Advertising

If the bridling of harmful targeted advertising is a core objective of the DSA, the exclusion of influencer marketing is a grave oversight. Amendments introduced by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee in the European Parliament may remedy this omission. If "human ads" were omitted, Big Tech platforms’ sophisticated data-related business models will continue to escape encompassing regulation and hence, their power will remain unchecked.

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27 August 2021

Slovenia’s Legal Farce with the Nomination of European Delegated Prosecutors

Slovenia is the only Member State participating in the European Public Prosecutor’s Office that has not yet made a single nomination for the positions of European Delegated Prosecutors. This post seeks to sketch the legal framework governing the appointment of the EDPs, explain how the blockade came about at the national level in Slovenia, and elucidate why no appointments from Slovenia can be expected for the time being.

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23 July 2021

A new chance for democracy in Moldova

On 11 July 2021, Moldovans elected the 11th legislature of the country and, for the first time, voted overwhelmingly for a pro-Western political party. The results are proof of a high desire for change in Moldova, and a reorientation towards Europe. The elections came after a months-long tug of war between the pro-Western and the Socialist political forces, involving attempts by both parties to politicize the Constitutional Court and the Central Electoral Commission.

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16 June 2021

A Hollow Threat

On 10 June, the European Parliament passed a resolution on the application of the Conditionality Regulation and threatens to take the EU Commission to Court. However, the very peculiar ‘action for failure to act’ set out in Article 265 TFEU is not an appropriate procedure to solve the problem at issue. The Parliament should employ the more political means at its disposal to tackle a problem that is ultimately political in nature.

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