POSTS BY Sébastien Platon

From One State of Emergency to Another – Emergency Powers in France

2 years and less than 5 months after the end of the two-year state of emergency triggered on the wake of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, a brand new “state of health emergency” was activated in France on the 23rd March to cope with a new attack led, this time, by a small and invisible enemy, Covid-19. The so-called “state of health emergency” currently constitutes the legal framework and basis of the measures in force to cope with the epidemic, including nationwide lockdown. What is this new regime? Is it a threat to individual freedoms? What are its limits and guarantees? Was it legally necessary?

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Brexit and the CJEU: why the Opinion of the Court Should be Sought as a Matter of Emergency

With the comfortable majority he managed to secure in the Commons, Boris Johnson is now very likely to be able to push through the British Parliament the withdrawal agreement he negotiated with the European Union back in October. Provided that the European Parliament greenlights it quickly enough, it may well come into force by 31 January 2020, deadline of the last extension decision agreed between the EU-27 and the UK. However, one actor of the process seems to have been forgotten: the Court of Justice of the European Union. This could end up being a huge mistake.

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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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How to Address Rule of Law Backsliding in Romania

In this post, we will first summarise the situation in Romania before examining Frans Timmermans’ reaction to the latest evidence of rule of law backsliding there. This post concludes with a possible solution considering the diagnosis offered below: an infringement action based on Article 325 TFEU.

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#DeniedMyVote too: Brits in France, the European Elections and the Council of State

European Elections Day in the United Kingdom has been stained by revelations that many EU citizens were unable to vote due to various clerical errors, widely reported on Twitter with the hashtag #DeniedMyVote. It seems that something along the same lines, though on a smaller scale, happened to UK citizens residing in other Member States of the European Union, for example in France.

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Disenfranchised by Accident: the Brexit Initiative and Brits abroad

On the 23rd of July 2018, the European Commission registered a European Citizens’ Initiative called “Permanent European Union Citizenship”, with the objective, in the context of Brexit, to ask the Commission to “propose means to avoid risk of collective loss of EU citizenship and rights, and assure all EU citizens that, once attained, such status is permanent and their rights acquired”. The aim of this initiative is, for British citizens, to retain European Union citizenship post Brexit. However, paradoxically enough, a considerable number of British expats, who are the main concerned, are legally unable to support this initiative (or any other as it turns out) because of a legal conundrum.

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30 days, six months… forever? Border control and the French Council of State

For Christmas 2017, the French Council of State – the Supreme Court for administrative matters in France – gave a nasty present to those attached to the free movement of persons in the Schengen area. In a ruling issued on 28 December (see here, in French), it upheld the decision of the French Government to reintroduce, for the ninth time in a row, identity control at its “internal” borders, i.e. borders with other Schengen countries – even though checks at internal borders are not, in fact, systematically performed. This decision, issued without even bringing the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling, sets aside, probably unlawfully, the time limit set by the Schengen Borders Code.

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Democratizing the Euro Area without the European Parliament: Benoît Hamon’s “T-Dem”

On the 10th March, the official candidate of the Socialist Party for the French presidential elections, Benoît Hamon, outlined his programme for the European Union. This programme, whilst being against austerity and in favour of more flexibility as regards EU requirements in terms of public budgets and public debts, comes with a treaty proposal, the draft treaty on the democratization of the governance of the euro area (dubbed « T-Dem »). This treaty, which was prepared by the candidate together with the superstar economist Thomas Piketty (who has joined his team) is supposed to bring more democracy to the governance of the Euro area. However noble (and necessary) this ambitious idea might seem, the way this draft treaty has been engineered raises not only political but also legal questions.

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Marine Le Pen’s Constitutional Programme on the European Union: Use, Misuse and Abuse of Referenda

Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate for President of France, was asked in an interview about her constitutional programme should she be elected in May. Her answer can be summarised in one word: referenda. One of them would be, of course, about “Frexit”, the other would include a vast set of amendments to the French Constitution and would take place just after the legislative elections. That, however, would not most likely not be the end of it.

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