07 Dezember 2022

Opfer der Diplomatie

Man stelle sich vor, irgendwo in England sperrt ein Beamter seine Haushälterin zwei Jahre lang ein, isoliert sie von der Außenwelt, beutet sie unter unwürdigen Bedingungen aus und zahlt ihr nur ein mickriges Gehalt. Die juristische Aufarbeitung dieser menschlichen Abgründe sollte einigermaßen banal sein – nicht aber, wenn der Täter diplomatische Immunität genießt. Der UK Supreme Court entschied sich jüngst in einem spektakulären Urteil gegen den diplomatischen Schutz – und für Menschenrechte. Einen Ausweg aus dem diplomatischen Dilemma könnten aus deutscher Sicht etwa staatshaftungsrechtliche Aufopferungsansprüche bieten. Continue reading >>

‘Inherently Repugnant’?

Indonesia has recently gained the international spotlight for criminalising sex outside marriage in its new Criminal Code. Criminalisation of sex outside marriage and cohabitation constitutes a setback for the right to privacy, which covers consensual sexual activity between adults in private. Nevertheless, the bigger picture is much more nuanced. Continue reading >>
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06 Dezember 2022

Make It Consistent

In New Zealand, as in many jurisdictions, the law specifies certain minimum age limits for acts such as getting married (16 years), enlisting in the armed forces (17 years), purchasing alcohol (18 years), entering contracts (18 years) and so on. One particular age limit, that relating to voting (18 years), has recently come under scrutiny as a result of the advocacy efforts of Make It 16, a group campaigning for the extension of the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds in New Zealand. As part of its campaign, Make It 16 commenced litigation, which eventually culminated in the New Zealand Supreme Court declaring in Make It 16 v Attorney-General that the legislated minimum voting age was inconsistent with the right to be free from discrimination, and that the inconsistency had not been justified. Continue reading >>
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Upgrading German Citizenship

As part of their broader agenda to “modernize” its immigration laws, Germany’s government has proposed to ease immigrants’ access to citizenship. The opposition – especially the CDU – as well as the liberal government coalition partner FDP are not happy with this. Among other things, they are concerned that the new law would seriously diminish the value of German citizenship and insist that immigrants should successfully integrate before they become German nationals. I argue in the following that these concerns, and further claims, are unfounded. Continue reading >>

Throwing the Delegation Doctrine to the Winds

In November 2022, the Indian Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology published the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 (‘the 2022 Bill’). In this article, I analyse the 2022 Bill from a constitutional law perspective. I argue that the 2022 Bill’s provisions as to subordinate legislation fly in the face of the Indian Supreme Court’s delegation doctrine inasmuch as these provisions set no coherently determinable legislative policy, thereby allowing the Executive to exercise plenary legislative power through delegated legislation. This, I further argue, is a breach of the principle of separation of powers as it exists in Indian constitutional jurisprudence. Continue reading >>
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The Commission’s missed opportunity to reclaim competition law for the Rechtsstaat

On 30 November 2022, the European Commission took two important decisions to protect the EU budget against possible breaches of the rule of law in Hungary. First, the Commission concluded that the conditions for applying the Conditionality mechanism in Hungary remain and Hungary needs to take further and more credible action to eliminate the remaining risks for the EU budget. Second, the Commission has assessed Hungary’s Recovery and Resilience Plan and froze the disbursement of the RRF until the full and effective implementation of 27 ”super milestones” has taken place. Unfortunately, with these measures, missed opportunity to reclaim the importance of competition law in the Rechtsstaat. Continue reading >>
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Transparenz? Ja, aber bitte nicht für alle

Mit Urteil vom 22. November 2022 hat der Europäische Gerichtshof entschieden, dass Informationen über wirtschaftlich Berechtigte von Unternehmen nicht über ein öffentliches Transparenzregister zur Verfügung gestellt werden dürfen. Die Zivilgesellschaft erhält über Journalisten und NGOs aber weiterhin umfassenden Zugriff auf diese Informationen, die essenziell sind, um wirtschaftliche Strukturen im Rahmen von Recherchen nachvollziehen und prüfen zu können. Befürchtungen dieser Gruppen, von den Informationen abgeschnitten zu werden, sind daher unbegründet. Continue reading >>
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05 Dezember 2022

Das Gegenteil von Integration

Die Umsetzung der Vereinbarung im Koalitionsvertrag, dass Ausländer in Deutschland leichter eine deutsche Staatsangehörigkeit erhalten können, wird derzeit von Innenministerin Faeser vorangetrieben und wurde am Donnerstag in einer aktuellen Stunde im Bundestag diskutiert. Getragen von Integrationserwägungen soll insbesondere die für die Einbürgerung erforderliche Aufenthaltsdauer von acht auf fünf Jahre und beim Vorliegen besonderer Integrationsleistungen von sechs auf drei Jahre verkürzt werden. Die anhaltende und auch in der Bundestagsdebatte vorgebrachte Kritik ist von Ressentiments und längt überwundenen Vorstellungen geprägt, die das gemeinsame Anliegen Integration ins Gegenteil verkehren. Um der Integrationsverantwortung des Staates angemessen Rechnung zu tragen, ist zu einer sachlichen und differenzierten Debatte zurückzukehren. Continue reading >>
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Putting an End to Minority Voter Disenfranchising in Hungary

On 11 November, the European Court of Human Rights published its decision in a case initiated eight years ago, which found that the Hungarian parliamentary electoral system's regulations on the representation of national minorities in parliament violates the right to free elections (Article 3 of the 1st Protocol to the ECHR, Bakirdzi and E.C. v. Hungary). The plaintiffs claimed that the Electoral Act of 2011 was unlawful on three points: the secrecy of the vote, the real election and the preferential quota for minority representation. In its judgment, the Court found in favour of the applicants on all three points and ordered the Hungarian State to pay damages, putting an end to a decade-long violation of voting right. The following analysis is not primarily intended to provide a detailed description of the judgment itself, but to review the unlawful situation and the necessary actions resulting from the judgment. Continue reading >>
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03 Dezember 2022

A Constitution’s Hollow Promise

On 26 November 2022, the Taiwanese people had their authentic constitutional voice heard for the first time in history by casting votes in a referendum on a constitutional amendment that would lower the age of voting from 20 to 18, and that of candidacy from 23 to 18 except as otherwise provided by the Constitution or legislation.  Given that Taiwan’s current Constitution was adopted by a Constituent National Assembly in China in 1946 when Japan still held sovereignty over Taiwan de jure and all the previous constitutional amendments were adopted without receiving direct approval from the Taiwanese people, the holding of referendum itself is historic.  Yet, this latest round of constitutional reform on Taiwan’s road towards an ever more democratic politics ends up as a damp squib. Continue reading >>
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02 Dezember 2022
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Chancen-Gleichheit für Geduldete?

Neben dem X. Gesetz zur Beschleunigung von Asylverfahren hat der Bundestag am heutigen Freitag auch das sog. Chancen-Aufenthaltsrecht (CAR) für langjährig Geduldete beschlossen. Damit endet ein rund einjähriger Prozess, während dessen das CAR bereits früh eine Kontroverse hervorrief: Zahlreiche Bundesländer erließen sog. Vorgriffserlasse, die potentielle Adressat*innen des CAR bis zu dessen Inkrafttreten vor einer Abschiebung schützen sollten. Andere Länder setzten ihre Abschiebepraxis unbeirrt fort – gerade gegenüber potentiellen Adressat*innen. Der folgende Beitrag setzt sich mit dieser Praxis kritisch auseinander und zeigt auf, dass das CAR bereits vor Inkrafttreten eine Vorwirkung in Form eines Frustrationsverbotes entfaltete, das Ausländerbehörden irreversible aufenthaltsbeendende Maßnahmen untersagt. Continue reading >>
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The Autonomy of Sport and the Degeneration of an Ideal

The Football World Cup in Qatar is but the tip of the iceberg of the mounting problems for UEFA/FIFA. Scandals. Corruption. Cozying up to the autocrats and feeling right at home in their company. Arrogance bordering on ignorance coming from the very top of the governing bodies. The list of serious ailments that beset the system of football governance goes on. As a result, one might argue that not much of substance can be added to the topic. Yet, as will be argued here, there is still a constitutional and discursive potential to push forward the discourse on the broken system of football governance. There is important space for constitutionalists to fill by offering a voice of critical reflection, insights and by pointing out signposts for the future. Continue reading >>
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01 Dezember 2022
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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Commission needs to get its message out to Hungarians loud and clear that it is trying to fight corruption in Hungary so that EU money can be used to benefit the Hungarian people and not just Orbán’s circle of cronies. Hungarians would definitely appreciate that if they knew it. But the Commission’s press release today has been drowned out by Orbán’s use of state funds to flood the zone with his message that the Commission doesn’t care about the Hungarian people and is responsible for all of the economic pain they feel. Continue reading >>
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Demokratie in der Supra-EU

Heute soll CETA, das Umfassende Wirtschafts- und Handelsabkommen der EU mit Kanada, durch den Bundestag gebracht werden. Die absehbare Zustimmung von Bundestag und Bundesrat zu CETA darf nicht dazu führen, die verfassungsrechtliche und demokratietheoretische Problematik der „Ausschüsse“ einfach ad acta zu legen. Die EU ist dabei, das Regieren mittels transnationaler Ausschüsse oberhalb der EU systematisch auszubauen, insbesondere im Rahmen umfassender Freihandelsverträge. Dies bedarf dringend klarer Leitplanken und Stoppschilder seitens des Bundesverfassungsgerichts. Continue reading >>
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30 November 2022

The Pitfalls of Enhanced Cooperation

There has been a public debate among academics and politicians on whether Hungary should be required to join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office as a condition to receive EU funds according to the different milestones. Joining the EPPO would send a clear message that Hungary takes ending public corruption seriously and a more general sign that it wishes to be a part of the European family. However, this proposal will not be legally possible to implement, thus illustrating the key problem with enhanced cooperation as a form of European integration. Continue reading >>
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29 November 2022

Conflating the Powers of the Commissarial and the Sovereign Dictator in Tunisia

On July 25, 2022, a year after Tunisian President Kais Saied declared a state of emergency and with only 28 percent of eligible voters participating, Tunisia ratified its new Constitution. Saied’s use of wide emergency powers to help sideline parliamentary opposition and support the constitution-making process, contradicts the underlying rational that emergency powers are needed in democratic states to defend the existing constitutional order against urgent and exceptional threats to the state. To preclude the potential misuse of emergency powers a state’s constitution should be designed to prevent the entity exercising emergency powers from simultaneously claiming that they represent the ‘broad popular will’ of the people. Continue reading >>
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Judges as Guardians of Promises

On 16 November, the Minister for Equality accused the Spanish judiciary of being macho-ist: “macho-ism can compromise both the impartiality and the integrity of judicial systems; macho-ism may make judges apply the law erroneously and wrongly”, said the Minister. After much criticism, Podemos, in support of the Minister, rounded up her argument: “Spanish judges are fascists”. These comments are part of an intense battle that is being fought between the government (Psoe/Podemos) and the Spanish Popular Party regarding the renewal of the Spanish General Council for the Judiciary, the judges’ governing body. Continue reading >>
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Weder Festung Europa, noch Gefängnis Europa

Werden in der Europäischen Union bald nicht nur ausländische Direktinvestitionen in die EU (inbound), sondern auch Investitionen europäischer Unternehmen in Drittstaaten (outbound) einer hoheitlichen Investitionskontrolle unterzogen? Während die EU-Kommission erste Andeutungen hierzu macht, läuft in den USA die Diskussion bereits heiß – bis ins Weiße Haus. Continue reading >>
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War, Schengen, and the Rule of Law

On 22 November 2022, the European Commission (EC) published its final report on Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) and proposed the mechanism be terminated. While this is an early Christmas present to the ruling elite of Romania, it certainly isn’t one for the rule of law – neither in Romania nor the EU. It’s been nearly 16 years since the CVM was established at the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU in January 2007. Setting and monitoring benchmarks, its aim is to support both countries in overcoming shortcomings relating to the rule of law, especially the independence of the judiciary and fight against corruption. While Bulgaria was considered to have successfully fulfilled all benchmarks by 2019 and the mechanism was lifted, the case is different for Romania. Continue reading >>
28 November 2022

Ernüchternde Klimakonferenz und ihre Lehren

Die diesjährige UN-Klimakonferenz wurde mit kaum positiven Ergebnissen abgeschlossen. Es ist auf globaler Ebene nicht gelungen, sich auf ehrgeizigere Klimaschutzziele zu einigen. Zwar gab es in einigen Bereichen positive erste Schritte, komplexe Verhandlungspunkte wurden aber größtenteils auf das nächste Jahr verschoben. Dabei fand die COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh unter schwierigen Bedingungen statt. Hier ein kurzer Überblick, welche Ergebnisse – auch am Rande der offiziellen Verhandlungen – trotzdem erzielt werden konnten und was wir für das nächste Jahr lernen können. Continue reading >>
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