Universität Graz

Posts by authors affiliated with Universität Graz

06 February 2024

Parlamentarische Minderheitenrechte und Obstruktion in Österreich

In Österreich sind bereits seit Mitte der 1980er-Jahre obstruierende Aktivitäten der Oppositionsparteien im parlamentarischen Verfahren zu beobachten. Der Gesetzgeber und die parlamentarische Praxis haben seit den 1980ern unterschiedliche Instrumente entwickelt, um der Gefahr der Obstruktion der parlamentarischen Tätigkeit im Nationalrat[1] durch die missbräuchliche Ausübung von Minderheitenrechten zu begegnen, ohne gleichzeitig Minderheitenrechte völlig auszuschließen. Diese Abwägung ist nicht in allen Fällen geglückt und effektiv. Der Gedanke, dass im parlamentarischen Verfahren im Widerstreit von Mehrheit und Minderheit über unterschiedliche Interessenlagen ein politischer Konsens entstehen kann und soll, scheint dabei zusehends in den Hintergrund zu treten.

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03 November 2023
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Defusing an Atomic Bomb

The sigh of relief was audible throughout Europe. In Brussels and other European capitals, the victory of the opposition bloc in the Polish elections sparked hope that the imminent change in government would end the illiberal course of the past. While years of democratic backsliding have left lasting marks on Poland’s political and legal landscape, the newly elected government is clearly committed to leading Poland back onto the path of democracy and the rule of law. However, one pertinent institutional issue remains to be resolved: the still pending procedure against Poland under Art 7 TEU.

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25 April 2023

Investing Immobilized Russian Assets, Monetarizing the Common Foreign and Security Policy

Again, the Commission and EU Member States are talking about new sanctions against Russia. The focus, according to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, should be on tackling sanctions circumvention and loopholes. In a scoop, however, it was also uncovered that the Commission has drawn up a non-paper “on the generation of resources to support Ukraine from immobilized Russian assets”. The idea behind this non-paper is to invest the immobilized assets of the Russian Central Bank in EU Member States’ bonds and bills and use the proceeds to support the reconstruction of Ukraine. The plan, as the non-paper indicates, is fraught with a number of legal and technical issues. These do not only relate to the question of whether or not such an investment of immobilized assets is compatible with international law and EU law, but also to the question of who should undertake and oversee these investments.

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23 August 2022

Is Ethnic Gerrymandering a Solution for the Constitutional Impasse?

Christian Schmidt, the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, had a fit of temper last week. After the draft of the HR's “Decision Enacting the Law on Amendments to the Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina” had been leaked to the public, there had been mass demonstrations. What were the reasons and what is the legal and political background for his outrage?

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01 April 2022

Letters from Brussels with Love and the Issue of Mutual Trust in Nationality Matters

In a recent article on this blog, I have set out that the spotlight will soon be turning on the European passportization of Russian oligarchs. And well, what shall I say, it did not take long for the Commission to come out swinging. In a recommendation issued on March 28, the Commission urged “Member States to immediately repeal any existing investor citizenship schemes and to ensure strong checks are in place to address the risks posed by investor residence schemes”.

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24 March 2022

As the Lungs of the Earth Dry Out, Climate Litigation Heats Up

The Amazon Forest – el pulmón del mundo – has been at the center of four recent rights-based climate lawsuits in the region. Interestingly, the existence of solid legal grounds for environmental litigation has not stopped petitioners and courts from using some degree of creativity in shaping new rights. I argue that any evaluation of the potential benefits and impacts of (new) rights strategies must consider their limitations in setting clear legal boundaries and achieving immediate political change. Nonetheless, rights-based climate lawsuits play an important symbolic role, as they recognize the vulnerability of certain groups to climate change.

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18 March 2022

The Oligarchs Among Us

It is no secret that Russian oligarchs have not only been collecting fancy toys but also various golden passport, that not only have allowed them to make them feel like home in the Europe Union, but also to be a part of “us”. And since the spotlight is already shifting towards how it is that some of these Russian oligarchs are indeed “our” very own oligarchs, there will be questions of what it is that validates the legal status of nationality actually. It is an old question to be fair, but the apparent answer of the day that nationality is what any State makes of it is therefore no less unconvincing and should lead to some soul searching.

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18 November 2021

Auf halben Wegen und zu halber Tat mit halben Mitteln zauderhaft zu streben

Österreich findet sich also in einem Zustand verdichteter normativer Volatilität, in dem – (wenn auch nicht allzu sehr) zugespitzt – an einen Tag nicht sicher ist, was am nächsten gilt. Das provoziert Unsicherheit. Und es ist rechtsstaatlich problematisch; nicht nur, weil Pressekonferenzen und -mitteilungen erneut an die Stelle des Bundesgesetzblattes treten, wenn es um den Rechtsrahmen geht, der die tägliche Lebensführung der Normunterworfenen bestimmt. Sondern ganz grundlegend.

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18 October 2021

Rationalizing Supremacy

For many years, supremacy has been rationalized by the European Court of Justice and in the literature mainly with arguments relying on the effectiveness of EU law and on its necessity for resolving conflicts between Union law and the laws of the Member States. In light of the most recent supremacy-related decisions by constitutional courts in Poland and Germany, these rationalizations seem to have lost their persuasive power. Instead of relying on effectiveness or the equality of Member States, supremacy should be seen as being mainly grounded in the individual-centred non-discrimination standard anchored in Article 18 TFEU.

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