POSTS BY Dimitry Kochenov

“Passport Trade”: A Vicious Cycle of Nonsense in the Netherlands

“How can you justify the fact that your work was translated into Russian? This goes against the claim that you engage in academic work. Is Russian not the language of billionaires interested in getting another citizenship?” Following the persistent repetition of this question by a four-person independent investigation committee installed by my home University, my lawyer, seeing that I have no words – indeed, am unable to speak – asks for a break and leads me out of the room. We sit on the steps in front of the beautiful Academy building. This is Groningen, January 2020, I am a Dutch professor of European Constitutional Law and Citizenship here and Russian is my mother tongue.

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Humiliating the Court?

The Member States, dismissing an Advocate General before the expiration of her term of office on the Court, have demonstrated that they are ready to humiliate the Court of Justice by allowing post-Brexit frustrations take the place of the Primary Law of the EU. The Rule of Law stands replaced with political whim. As AG Sharpston’s tenure is left in suspense, what is the worth of the core aspects of EU Rule of Law and judicial independence, when the Member States are willing to alter the composition of the Court by a political declaration?

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The European Parliament Sidelined

When the Council adopted the first set of procedural rules governing Article 7(1) TEU hearings in July 2019, it unilaterally decided to make the Commission the proxy for the Parliament. This post will show how the Council’s differential treatment of the Commission and the Parliament as activating bodies under Article 7(1) is not compatible with EU primary law and goes against in particular the principle of institutional balance.

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The Commission’s Rule of Law Blueprint for Action: A Missed Opportunity to Fully Confront Legal Hooliganism

In its first Communication entitled “Further strengthening the Rule of Law within the Union” published on 3 April 2019, the Commission offered a useful overview of the state of play while also positively inviting all stakeholders to make concrete proposals so as to enhance the EU’s “rule of law toolbox”. A follow up Communication from July 2019 sets out multiple “concrete actions for the short and medium term”. This post will highlight the most innovative actions proposed by the Commission before highlighting what we view as the main weakness of its blueprint: a reluctance to fully accept the reality of rule of law backsliding.

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Where Citizenship Law and Data Protection Law Converge

Becoming a citizen of a country is a noteworthy event. But in light of increasing concerns over the protection of personal data, states face questions regarding the necessity of formal publication of the personal data of their new citizens. A closer look at Member States’ practices reveals radical discrepancies between the national approaches taken across the EU.

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The Tjebbes Fail: Going Farcical about Bulgakovian Truths

In the case of Tjebbes the European Court of Justice has agreed in principle with stripping EU citizens residing abroad of their EU citizenship status and EU democratic rights based on non-renewal of the passport. The judgment showcases the dangerous limits to the understanding of the concept of citizenship by the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice.

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More Suffocating Bonds?! Conceptual and Legal Flaws of the Unnecessary Proposal

In this brief contribution I turn to Kostakopoulou’s text and briefly show that her proposal: 1) ignores the core aspects of EU citizenship’s added value; 2) is entirely unnecessary; 3) is not legally neat; and 4) is dangerous for the very nature of EU citizenship today as it essentially pleads for the recreation of the ‘suffocating bonds’ the EU was created to ease, only at a scale much more scary than Greece, Ireland or France, when taken one by one. Besides, it ignores every single outstanding problem actually posed by EU citizenship law as it stands.

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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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