POSTS BY Daniel Sarmiento

An Offer the EU and UK Cannot Refuse

The EU reasonably expects a guarantee that Brexit will not compromise the integrity of its customs and regulatory territory. Hence its insistence on the Backstop. The UK reasonably expects a guarantee that it will not be locked into a permanent Customs (and regulatory) Union with the EU. Hence its rejection of the Backstop. The resulting deadlock is hurling both parties into a No-Deal Brexit. This proposal, which includes features which have never been discussed, will guarantee the integrity and autonomy of the EU’s and UK’s respective customs and regulatory territories, and will require neither a Customs Union between the two nor a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

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Crossing the Baltic Rubicon

Last week, a constitutional moment took place in the European Union. In a rather technical area of law, the Statute of the European System of Central Banks, the Court of Justice ruled for the first time in a case that ensued in the annulment of a decision of a Member State. The Court did not declare that a Member State had failed to fulfill its obligations under EU Law. What the Court did was much more ambitious.

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Interim Revolutions

With the Order against Poland to suspend its "judicial reform", the European Court of Justice has entered a terra incognita, forcing a sovereign Member State to choose between its membership to the club of European integration, or to walk away and follow the path of authoritarian illiberalism. To do this in an Order of interim measures, is quite a gamble on the part of the Luxembourg court. However, the stakes are so high that the Court was left with hardly any other choices.

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The Strange (German) Case of Mr. Puigdemont’s European Arrest Warrant

The decision by the Oberlandesgericht of Schleswig in the Puigdemont case is a flawed ruling that seriously undermines the effectiveness of the European arrest warrant, and I would even say its future survival. It is also a manifest example of mistrust between courts of Member States, the type of conduct that destroys the foundations of mutual recognition and judicial cooperation.

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Provisional (And Extraordinary) Measures in the Name of the Rule of Law

The showdown was inevitable. At some point, the Court of Justice had to show its teeth and remind the Polish government of its duty to comply with the rule of law and with the values enshrined in Article 2 TEU. For the Member States of the EU, the rule of law is not an option. You either take it or leave it (and thus leave the EU). However, Poland’s late attitude towards EU integration, happily accepting the money from EU funds but showing its back on the fundamental values of the EU, was inevitably going to be confronted, sooner or later, at the Court of Justice. If the showdown was predictable, the surprise has been that it has all happened so quickly, so frontally and… in interim relief procedures in an infringement action against Poland.

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On Cockroaches and the Rule of Law

As I awoke one morning from uneasy dreams I found myself transformed in my bed into a gigantic insect. Like Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s Metamorphosis, I had mutated into an enormous and abominable cockroach with no prior warning. It just happened. As I woke up, I could feel how my new legs and antennae moved with sinuous speed. Then I knew what I really had become. I had muted into a Spanish fascist.

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The EU and the Catalan Crisis

The events of the past week in Catalunya (and of the weeks that will follow) are very serious and worrying. Catalunya is a region of a Member State of the EU that has begun a unilateral process of independence, disregarding the Constitution, its Statute of Autonomy and the opposition of half of the Catalan population. It’s a remarkable challenge for Spanish democracy. It’s a challenge for the EU as well.

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The Singapore Silver Bullet

Is the CJEU’s Opinion on the Singapore free trade agreement a boost for Brexit? After reading the Opinion my feeling is exactly the opposite. The Court has made a clever juggling exercise with Christmas presents for everybody. But in fact, the Court has saved the best Christmas present for itself. And there are hardly any gifts for Britain. In fact, the Opinion contains a paragraph that could blow up the entire Brexit process.

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The Great Repeal Bill and the Charter of Fundamental Rights – not a promising start

On the day Brexit happens EU Law will be incorporated into the UK legal system, including the entirety of the Court of Justice’s case-law. This is a huge digestion of rules and judicial rulings, unprecedented in the way and speed in which it will take place. However, there is a piece of EU Law that will not be incorporated into UK Law. This is no ordinary or irrelevant piece. It is the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. It is another revealing sign of the impact that Brexit will have in the UK and, above all, for UK citizens and their rights.

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