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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Beyond the Spectacle: The European Parliament’s Article 7 TEU Decision on Hungary

Emotions were high and voices loud while and after the European Parliament adopted its decision to trigger an art. 7 TEU procedure against Hungary this week. Once the dust settles, it might be helpful and disillusioning to look at the possible consequences, the collateral damages and the side-effects of the European Parliament’s art. 7 TEU decision.

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How likely – and dangerous – is a Kosovo/Serbia “Land Swap” ?

The presidents of Kosovo and Serbia have recently considered an exchange of territories (“land swap”) between their two countries which would lead to Serbia’s formal recognition of the independence of Kosovo. In view of legal and politcial hurdles, one can envisage at least three distinct scenarios of international response to a bilateral treaty between Serbia and Kosovo, concerning specific synchronized border changes.

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WTO Option in Practice: How a No-Deal Brexit Would Seriously Damage Key UK Industries

Whilst a no-deal Brexit seemed unrealistic in the immediate aftermath of the UK’s referendum, it seems that now the UK is bracing itself for a Brexit without a withdrawal or transition agreement. What would that mean for the UK’s trade relations with the EU and other countries and how would it affect some of the UK’s key industries?

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Trade, Security and Defence: Holding Cecilia Malmström and Federica Mogherini Accountable

The shift away from a technocratic, apolitical European Commission towards a politicized one is a momentous development of the European Union. In the Common Commercial Policy and the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has constitutionalized and institutionalized different degrees of accountability mechanisms in this special domain of foreign affairs

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Barnier, Bureaucracy and Brexit – a Test for Juncker’s ‘Political’ Commission

At first sight, it may neither be easy nor obvious to assimilate the conduct of the Brexit negotiations to the idea of a ‘political Commission’. A closer look, however, reveals that Juncker’s personnel and organisational choices regarding the Brexit negotiations fit that pattern more readily.

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Regime Collision between EU Law and Investment Law: New Developments in the Vattenfall Case

EU law and international investment law are on collision course. The bone of contention is which court shall decide intra-EU investor-state disputes. While the ECJ indicated in its Achmea judgment that only itself and the domestic courts of the member states may decide such disputes, the Investment Tribunal in the Vattenfall case has now decided in the context of the Energy Charter Treaty that Achmea does not preclude its jurisdiction. How did this clash of courts arise and how can it be resolved?

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Self-Protecting Democracy and Electoral Rights

On October 6 the Republic of Latvia will hold its general election. The air is already sparkling with emotions: populism, fake news and other nowadays much discussed components of election campaigns are all part of it. Even the Constitutional Court of Latvia had its say in the upcoming events by delivering a judgment on a law denying access to stand as a candidate in the election.

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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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