POSTS BY Dimitry Kochenov

The Four Elements of the Autocrats’ Playbook

There is truth in the old maxim proclaiming the imperative to try to get to know your enemies well. We outline four key techniques deployed by the autocratic regimes in Poland and Hungary in order to consolidate the constitutional capture and massive assault on European values and take a look at some of the elements of each of the four.

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False Accountability, Elusive Rule of Law

The tale of the ‘political Commission’ is not only bound to weaken the Union’s ability to meet the outstanding challenges touching upon its institutional core but has fundamentally undermined the EU’s action in an area of most fundamental concern: the unfulfilled promise of democracy and the rule of law for all European citizens.

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Misguided ‘Associate EU Citizenship’ Talk as a Denial of EU Values

Guy Verhofstadt is famous for articulate ‘The answer is more Europe’ positions on all issues European. Jan-Werner Müller might be right: should there have been no Verhofstadt, Eurosceptics would have had to invent him. This is particularly so given his position on EU citizenship for UK nationals after Brexit as the chief European Parliament Brexit negotiator. In this contribution, I explain why playing with any kind of ‘associate EU citizenship status’ for the Brits after Brexit is a terrible idea undermining all what should be cherished about the project of European unity.

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The European Commission’s Activation of Article 7: Better Late than Never?

On Wednesday, the European Commission reacted to the continuing deterioration of the rule of law situation in Poland. The remaining question, of course, is why this argument has been used in the context of 7(1) as opposed of 7(2) given that the situation on the ground in Poland is clearly – in the view of the Commission, the Venice Commission and countless other actors – one of clear and persistent breach of values, as opposed to a threat thereof. The explanation might lie beyond the simple difficulty of the procedural requirements related to the sanctioning stage.

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Brexit and the Argentinisation of British citizenship: Taking care not to overstay your 90 days in Rome, Amsterdam or Paris

What are the likely consequences of Brexit for the status and rights of British citizenship? Is it possible to mitigate the overwhelming negative consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on the plane of the rights enjoyed by the citizens of the UK? The Brexit referendum result will most likely mark one of the most radical losses in the value of a particular nationality in recent history.

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Brexit and Citizenship

What are the likely consequences of Brexit for the status and rights of British citizenship? Can the fact that every British national is an EU citizen mitigate the possible negative consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on the plane of the rights enjoyed by the citizens of the UK? These questions are not purely hypothetical, as the referendum on June 23 can potentially mark one of the most radical losses in the value of a particular nationality in recent history.

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The Commission vs Poland: The Sovereign State Is Winning 1-0

Studying Soviet legal theory is probably one of the most tedious activities imaginable, but it can teach us a great deal, sadly, about the contemporary reality in some of the Member States of the EU: a reality captured by Uładzisłaŭ Belavusaŭ’s catchy phrase ‘Belarusization’ of the EU with enviable precision. Not a single person familiar with the basics of the principle of the Rule of Law could possibly be in doubt that what is going on in Poland now is a partly Soviet-style dismantlement of the Western values of democracy and the Rule of Law. By having started its famed Pre-Article 7 Procedure against Poland the Commission made four drastic mistakes and did not move any closer to stopping Polish backsliding.

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How just is the EU, or: is there a ‘new’ European deficit?

Let us face it: the EU affects the lives of many people in ways they perceive as profoundly unjust. Lives are dramatically affected by the policies of austerity, widely understood to be EU-imposed. With the Court of Justice appearing to stand for its own authority and EU autonomy at any cost; with migrants attempting to reach fortress Europe and drowning en masse as the EU cuts back its rescue services; and with economic inequalities in the Member States reaching new heights, could it be that there is a justice deficit in Europe, exacerbated by the European Union? It has never been made abundantly clear whether the achievement of justice is among the EU’s objectives, thus leading to a sub-optimal legal-political reality. There is an urgent need to address the question of justice openly and without reservation, and not to permit nationalists and Eurosceptics to monopolize this debate.

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Welcoming Russian Navy to Cyprus Should Be a Violation of EU Law

The struggle for the continued observance of Article 2 TEU values in the EU is on-going. Arguably, it is now much more acute than ever before. The news that Cyprus considers granting the Russian military access to military bases on its territory is just another urgent reminder of the mounting necessity to upgrade the Union’s role in dealing with values crises in the Member States – both internally and externally – issues which are indispensable for the Union’s survival.

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From bad to worse? On the Commission and the Council’s rule of law initiatives

The rule of law is one of the fundamental values on which the EU is founded according to Article 2 TEU. Faced with a rising number of ‘rule of law crises’ in a number of EU countries, the Commission adopted a new ‘pre-Article 7’ procedure last March in order to address any instance where there is a evidence of a systemicthreat to the rule of law. Having criticised the Commission’s initiative primarily on the (unconvincing) ground that it would breach the principle of conferral which governs the allocation of powers between the EU and its Member States, the Council proposed its own solution: a rule of law dialogue between national governments and to be held once a year in Brussels. Both initiatives, and in particular, the Council’s, appear grossly inadequate to tackle the problem of ‘rule of law backsliding post EU accession’ to quote Frans Timmermans, the First Vice-President of the Commission in charge inter alia of the Rule of Law.

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