26 August 2022

Sharing the Cost of the Crisis

In late July, the two political parties supporting the Spanish Government (the socialist party and the leftist Podemos) presented a proposal for approving a law on the windfall profits of banks and large energy companies in Parliament. This is supposed to tax companies earning extra profits from the recent price increase in energy and the financial sector which was slightly affected by the increase in inflation but will have a considerable profit from the rise of interest rates. The bill could serve as an example for other European countries. Continue reading >>
02 April 2022

The Paradox of Efficiency: Frictions Between Law and Algorithms

On the 13th of January 2022, a Spanish Administrative court ruled in favour of algorithmic opacity. Fundación Civio, an independent foundation that monitors and accounts public authorities, reported that an algorithm used by the government was committing errors. BOSCO, the name of the application which contained the algorithm, was implemented by the Spanish public administration to more efficiently identify citizens eligible for grants to pay electricity bills. Meanwhile, Civio designed a web app to inform citizens whether they would be entitled for this grant. Continue reading >>
08 Dezember 2021

Good Intentions May Not Be Enough

On 29 June 2021, the Spanish Cabinet approved to sponsor the Draft Bill for the Real and Effective Equality of Trans People and the Guarantee of the Rights of LGTBI People in Parliament. Even though the Bill’s main goal is to introduce game-changing and long-demanded reforms, such as the incorporation of the self-determination principle in legal gender amendment procedures or a state-level set of norms against LGTBIphobia, political struggles within the government have resulted in a weak text. And, most importantly, they are causing a major delay to its parliamentary discussion and approval. Continue reading >>
10 November 2021

Legislative Activity and Inactivity in the COVID Pandemic in Spain

In Spain, hundreds of laws have been amended in reaction to the COVID pandemic. But Spain is still without a law determining when elections can be suspended, what is the deadline for extending the state of alarm, when a town can be closed perimetrically, and so on. Against logic and statistics, our public authorities have considered that the organic laws of 1981 and 1986 were sufficient for this purpose. However, they were clearly not designed for a pandemic unprecedented since 1918. Continue reading >>
17 Mai 2021

The Right of Catalonian Leaders to Protest

On 22 April, the Spanish Constitutional Court issued its first judgement on the constitutionality of the conviction of the Catalonian leaders for the events of October 2017. It upheld the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the crime of sedition which blurs the line between legitimate protest and sedition. The judgment will therefore have repercussions beyond this particular case and may affect the right of protest and dissent. Continue reading >>
27 März 2021

How Spanish Politics Turned into a Political TV Drama

Recently, a set of unexpected moves and countermoves in Spanish politics have resulted in the collapse of two regional governments and a snap election in Madrid. This election anticipates a fierce battle between the two blocs that have dominated Spanish politics since 2015, even more so after vice-president Iglesias’ decision to step down from government to run in Madrid. The outcome will have a significant impact on national politics, determining the fate of most actors and opening a new political cycle in Spain. Continue reading >>
26 Februar 2021

Spain: One Pandemic and Two Versions of the State of Alarm

The Spanish response to the waves of the COVID-19 pandemic that have affected the territory has so far largely relied on emergency powers. The measures were adopted on the basis of the pre-existing legal framework provided in article 116 of the Constitution and its legislative development, Ley Orgánica 4/1981 on state of alarm, exception and siege, adopted on 1 June 1981 (henceforth LO 4/1981). As explained below, two different approaches have characterised the response to the first and second wave. However, both have their legal basis on the same norms and are based on the same legal category, i.e., the state of alarm ('estado de alarma'). Continue reading >>
23 Februar 2021

A Political Impasse, and How to Get Out of It

At the end of January, EU Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová addressed a letter to a Spanish MEP. In this letter, the Commissioner, using diplomatic language, expressed her concern that the reform of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), initiated by the ruling Spanish left-wing coalition PSOE-Unidas Podemos in September, could diminish the independence of this governing body of the Judiciary and thus of all judges and courts. Continue reading >>
20 Januar 2021

The Honor of the Spanish Flag

In a controversial decision dated 15 December 2020 and published one month later, the Spanish Constitutional Court has rejected the appeal of a member of an independentist trade union condemned for desecrating the Spanish flag during a labor protest. The ruling denies constitutional protection to such expressions even in the context of political activism. It challenges the case law of the ECHR and reduces the room for freely expressing political opinions in Spain. The ruling shows that the freedom of expression is increasingly at risk in Spain. Continue reading >>
11 Dezember 2020

No, the Spanish Constitutional Court has not endorsed migrant push-backs in Ceuta and Melilla

The Spanish Constitutional Court has just published a long-awaited judgement on migrant push-backs or “devoluciones en caliente” at the Spanish enclaves bordering on Morocco. These push-backs are controversial, to say the least. While media rushed to cover the press release summary, and reports that the SCC seemed to have endorsed the practice were not wholly accurate, the actual judgement is flawed by internal contradictions. There is an irreconcilable gap between the theoretical respect for fundamental rights, and their effective protection. Continue reading >>
26 Oktober 2020

The Time to Speak Up

The European Commission’s Rule of Law Report 2020, in its Spanish chapter, highlights in particular the situation of the Judicial Council as a challenge: The mandate of its members has expired in December 2018, but its new members have not yet been appointed. To unblock this situation a proposal was introduced in Parliament, but the envisaged reform does not comply with EU standards and endangers judicial independence, as the European Commission and GRECO have warned. Continue reading >>
15 Oktober 2020

Justice and Independence, an Actual Problem in Spain

On October 13, the Spanish Government presented a bill to Parliament with one main objective: to reduce the parliamentary majorities to appoint the members of the General Council of the Judiciary. Its purpose is to overcome a political blockage in the renewal of its members, which has already lasted two years. But the government's attempt, somehow awkward, has been quickly compared to maneuvers to control the judiciary in Poland and Hungary. However, this bill and those exaggerated criticisms conceal a much more relevant and, above all, sadder reality. Continue reading >>
11 Oktober 2020

The Covid-19 Measures in Madrid, and why they Suffered Defeat in Court

The Covid-19 situation in Madrid, as in many other places all over the country, is getting worse. The number of people infected continue to rise just like the hospital occupancy rate. In a political context marked by permanent confrontation between the regional and national governments, ruled by different political parties, the Madrid Court of Justice has added fuel to the fire by quashing the ‘perimeter closure’ for Madrid. Other than one might think, this was not a decision about the substance of the Order but rather about its lack of legal authorization to impose a measure so restrictive of fundamental rights. Continue reading >>
13 Mai 2020

Beyond the State of Alarm: COVID-19 in Spain

The confinements imposed by the Spanish Government in response to the pandemic are among the most intense in comparative terms since they contain a prohibition of going out into the street with only limited exceptions. Given their intensity, especially the strong limits imposed on the freedom of movement, the restrictions are rather suspensions than mere restrictions of fundamental rights and as such go beyond their legal basis of the state of alarm. Continue reading >>
14 Februar 2020

A Painful Slap from the ECtHR and an Urgent Opportunity for Spain

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights shockingly endorses a practice which opposes the core principles of International Law and the protection of fundamental rights. This decision repeals a previous ECtHR judgement of 2017 which had condemned push-backs and which Spain had asked to be referred to the Grand Chamber. But all hope is not lost: The Spanish Constitutional Court will rule on the “rejections at the border” provision in the near future and has the chance to uphold Spain’s international legal obligations. Continue reading >>
19 Januar 2020

Junqueras’ Immunity: An Example of Judicial Dialogue

There is no doubt that the criminal prosecution of the "Catalan question" is a stress test for Spanish Justice. One of the last episodes, now with a European dimension, has been the "euro-immunity" of Junqueras. And, in this respect, the political and journalistic readings of the judicial decisions issued by the Spanish Supreme Court and by the Court of Justice of the European Union emphasize the confrontation. However, in my modest opinion, I believe that these decisions are an example of dialogue between courts, necessary to manage the current pluralism where legal orders are intertwined without clear hierarchies. Continue reading >>
17 Januar 2020

No Appeasement

On Russia, Poland, Spain, India, Germany, Italy and others. Continue reading >>
16 Januar 2020

The Case of Mr. Junqueras is a Case of Respect of the Rule of Law

Mr. Junqueras was not an MEP nor had any immunity whatsoever when he was put on trial for a crime committed in Spain in accordance with Spanish law. When the trial was completely over, in June 2019, but before a sentence was given by the Court, Mr. Junqueras was elected to the European Parliament. And that was possible, precisely, because Spain being a most protective country, his presumption of innocence was still complete at that time. Continue reading >>
15 Januar 2020

Spain has a Problem with its Judiciary

According to the EU Justice Scoreboard of 2019 Spain is among the four EU countries with the worst perception about judicial independence among its citizens. The survey shows a trend that isn’t stopping: the perception about partiality of the judiciary is growing dangerously in the Spanish society. Causes are to be found in three elements: the political situation in the country; the shortcomings in the regulations on judiciary; the behavior of the judges themselves. Continue reading >>
14 Januar 2020

The Junqueras Saga Continues

Notwithstanding the clear message from the ECJ, the Spanish Supreme Court has decided that the Catalan separatist leader and MEP Oriol Junqueras will not be released from prison. The contradiction between the logic of the ECJ’s judgment of December 2019 and the decision of the Spanish Supreme Court of 8 January 2020 forms a new challenge for the EU legal order, in the sense that it puts the relationship between EU law and Spanish national law under strain. Continue reading >>
25 Dezember 2019

A Matter of Representative Democracy in the European Union

With its judgment in the Junqueras case, the Court adopted a functional approach to the election procedure of the European Parliament, proceeding from the principle of representative democracy as one of the core values in the EU legal order. In particular, the Court stressed the need to ensure that the composition of the European Parliament fully reflects the free choice of the Union’s citizens, by direct universal suffrage. Continue reading >>
13 November 2019

The End of Parliamentary Government in Europe

Has parliamentary government, after almost two hundred years of honoured service, come to an end in Europe? The fact that Spain had two elections in seven months and is still nowhere near a stable government is just the latest of many signs that it is indeed so – and I wonder what the ruling classes in the European countries, excluding France, are waiting for in order to take note of the fact and to do, night and day, in order to put in place the necessary remedies. Continue reading >>
31 Oktober 2019

The Criminal Conviction of Catalan Secessionist Leaders and European Human Rights Law

In the controversial judgement of the Spanish Supreme Court against the Catalan secessionist leaders, seven defendants were found guilty of the crime of sedition (amongst others) and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 9 to 13 years. An appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is likely but it is doubtful whether it will be successful. Continue reading >>
25 Oktober 2019

Constitutional Conflicts

Can the actions perpetrated by the leaders of the secessionist movement be understood to be crimes under Spanish law? Does the Spanish Constitution or international law protect those actions in the name of fundamental rights, including the right to protest? The Spanish Supreme Court deals with these issues in its lengthy opinion. A reply to José Luis Martí's assessment of that decision. Continue reading >>
18 Oktober 2019

An Exotic Right

The Spanish Supreme Court's ruling in the trial against Catalan secessionist leaders will definitely not help to solve the conflict. Quite on the contrary, it will make it intractable in the short run, as we are beginning to see in the riots in the streets of Barcelona. In my opinion, this ruling is unjust and legally wrong. Even worse, it is unconstitutional since it compromises the fundamental democratic rights of protest – the freedom of expression, the freedom of assembly, and the right to demonstrate. Continue reading >>
09 Juli 2019

Empty Seats in the European Parliament: What About EU Citizenship?

The European Parliament started its new term with three empty seats. The Catalan politicians Carles Puigdemont, Antoni Comín and Oriol Junqueras got elected in the European Parliamentary elections of 26 May 2019 but the Spanish Central Electoral Commission did not include their names in the list which was notified to the European Parliament on 17 June 2019. The reason is that that they did not appear in person to swear or affirm allegiance to the Spanish Constitution, which is a formal requirement under the Spanish election legislation. The President of the EU General Court dismissed an application of Carles Puigdemont and Antoni Comín for interim measures by referring to the Spanish electoral law. Thereby, however, he completely ignored the EU citizenship dimension of the case. Continue reading >>
14 Mai 2019

Diplomatisches Asyl als Einmischung? Venezuelas Oppositionsführer Leopoldo López in der spanischen Botschaft

Venezuela bleibt eine Quelle spannender völkerrechtlicher Fragen. Eine weitere Facette hat das komplexe Geschehen nun dadurch erhalten, dass sich der Oppositionspolitiker Leopoldo López seit Anfang Mai in der spanischen Botschaft in Caracas aufhält, um sich dem Zugriff der Regierung zu entziehen. Handelt es sich damit um eine Neuauflage der gerade zu Ende gegangenen Saga um den Aufenthalt von Julian Assange in der ecuadorianischen Botschaft in London? Continue reading >>
23 Februar 2019

Politics and Criminal Law: The Trial against the Catalan Independence Leaders

On February 12th, the criminal trial against twelve Catalan independence leaders has started before the Spanish Supreme Court. It is surely the most important trial in the history of Spanish democracy for its political implications. Continue reading >>
11 Februar 2019

The Spanish Model of Democracy Facing Trial

Tomorrow, the trail against nine Catalan separatist leaders will start. Without doubt, this trial will shape the future of the Spanish Constitution. Continue reading >>
03 September 2018

Spanish Jurisdiction at Stake: Puigdemont’s Judge to be Judged by a Belgian Court?

Tomorrow, a new weird chapter opens up in the „affair Puigdemont“: The Spanish Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena, who unsuccessfully issued the European Arrest Warrant against former Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont, is cited before a Belgian court. He is object of a civil lawsuit filed by Puigdemont who accuses the magistrate of a lack of impartiality and violating the presumption of innocence as well as his right to reputation. What is the most astonishing about this lawsuit is the fact that it is a Belgian court which shall judge the professional actions of a Spanish judge. Continue reading >>
20 Juli 2018

Are National Governments Liable if They Miss Their Relocation Quota of Refugees?

Last week, the Spanish Supreme Court declared that between 2015 and 2017 the Government of Spain had failed to relocate 19.449 refugees from Greece and Italy. The Court considered in its Judgement of 9th July of 2018 that Spain was bound by two Council Decisions of May and September 2015 establishing an EU Emergency Relocation Mechanism aimed at distributing some of the refugees that arrived at their coasts during the so-called ‘refugee crisis’. The relocation mechanism included a table with the number of refugees Member States were obliged to accommodate in their own international protection systems (‘quota’). Continue reading >>
22 Mai 2018

Ethnocentric Mambo in Catalonia

Catalonia is a fragile object. As in many other places, history has assembled fragments without completely fusing them, leaving behind scars that remind us of the effort required to join what is diverse. These scars demand special attention because, contrary to societies where the wounds that produced them are old and almost forgotten, in Catalonia many of the wounds were still suppurating just a few decades ago. As they do now. For months, we have been at risk of tearing them open. Continue reading >>
11 Mai 2018

„Passive Indoctrination“ as a Terrorist Offense in Spain – A Regression from Constitutional Rights?

Spanish counter-terrorist legislation was originally aimed at fighting local terrorism of a nationalist nature. In Spain, the phenomenon was so present during the constituent process that the Constitution itself included a provision that allows certain fundamental rights to be suspended for specific persons, “in relation to the investigations corresponding to the actions of armed bands or terrorist elements” (art. 55.2 EC –Spanish Constitution-). Continue reading >>
11 April 2018

The Strange (German) Case of Mr. Puigdemont’s European Arrest Warrant

The decision by the Oberlandesgericht of Schleswig in the Puigdemont case is a flawed ruling that seriously undermines the effectiveness of the European arrest warrant, and I would even say its future survival. It is also a manifest example of mistrust between courts of Member States, the type of conduct that destroys the foundations of mutual recognition and judicial cooperation. Continue reading >>
05 April 2018

Der Fall Puigdemont – ein europäisches Problem!

Ist die Auslieferung von Carles Puigdemont tatsächlich allein der deutschen Justiz überantwortet? Zweifel sind angebracht. Denn blickt man genauer auf den EU-Rahmenbeschluss zum Europäischen Haftbefehl, wird schnell deutlich: Es stellen sich eine Reihe europarechtlicher (Vor-)Fragen, zu deren Auslegung allein der Gerichtshof der Europäischen Union (EuGH) berufen ist. Continue reading >>
03 April 2018

Spanische Tragödie

Über Carles Puigdemont, katalanische Identität, spanische Strafjustiz und europäisches Vertrauen: eine juristische Geschichte über Wahn und Wirklichkeit. Continue reading >>
26 März 2018

High Treason in Germany – Rebellion in Spain

Carles Puigdemont, the fugitive former President of Catalonia wanted by Spanish law authorities, has been arrested in Germany. The German equivalent to his alleged crime of rebellion is high treason. Continue reading >>
02 Januar 2018

Catalonia in deadlock, and why that is a European problem

The Catalan territorial conflict is stuck. No clear solutions are on the table after the elections of December 21st. Catalans and Spaniards are failing so far to find solutions to the problem. But it is our European common problem and our common responsibility to try to help them. More specifically, EU institutions should be doing much more of what they have done so far. I blame them for their passivity in the last couple of months. Continue reading >>
08 November 2017

On Cockroaches and the Rule of Law

As I awoke one morning from uneasy dreams I found myself transformed in my bed into a gigantic insect. Like Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s Metamorphosis, I had mutated into an enormous and abominable cockroach with no prior warning. It just happened. As I woke up, I could feel how my new legs and antennae moved with sinuous speed. Then I knew what I really had become. I had muted into a Spanish fascist. Continue reading >>
05 November 2017

Still not a Dictatorship: Spanish Law and Judiciary in Times of Constitutional Crisis

I write these lines after Carles Puigdemont, the deposed Catalan President, and part of his Government have fled to Brussels to evade Spanish justice, after eight ex-Consellers of the Government have been sent to pre-trial detention without bail, and after the appeal from the incarcerated presidents of two civil pro-independence associations ANC and Omnium to be released on conditional parole after 18 days of detention has been rejected. The scenario is terrible, also for those of us that believe that the only possible solution for this crisis is by political negotiation, and it could have been avoided. That being said – the assertion that Spain has turned into a repressive state or even a dictatorship is utterly groundless. Continue reading >>
25 Oktober 2017

Seven Steps to Hell: the Catalan Conflict in Full Escalation Mode

Spain, and more specifically Barcelona, used to resemble a paradise. But we are descending into hell. Seven steps towards the inferno have been taken in the last six weeks, all of them of the highest legal and political relevance. Continue reading >>
20 Oktober 2017

A Plea for Dialogue: An Open Letter on Catalonia from constitutional & international law scholars

The Center for Constitutional Transitions, in partnership with the Edinburgh Center for Constitutional Law, has released an open letter on the constitutional crisis in Catalonia, “A Call for Dialogue”.  Continue reading >>
12 Oktober 2017

Catalonia and Spain: A View from the Future Past

I am not suggesting Spain and Catalonia are headed for the same result as Yugoslavia and its republics. The conditions necessary for such a confrontation are simply not present. At the same time, the similarities do suggest danger of further escalation, with the possibility of unrest that should be taken seriously. Continue reading >>
07 Oktober 2017

The Spanish Constitutional Crisis: Law, Legitimacy and Popular Sovereignty in Question

The Spanish constitutional crisis is escalating, and it has now – finally – found broader attention, thanks to the referendum on 1 October and the violence of the Spanish police trying to prevent it from being held. Still, much confusion reigns on how to approach the crisis, apart from the obvious condemnation of the human rights violations during the referendum and in the weeks leading up to it. Having been a close observer of the unfolding crisis for the last decade, here some attempts at clarification. Continue reading >>
06 Oktober 2017

Homage to Catalonia: How to Lift the Gridlock of Constitutional Crisis in Spain

83 years after the first proclamation of a Catalan State, Catalonia seems once again to be on the verge of unilaterally declaring its independence, giving cause to a grave constitutional crisis in Spain. Although, until now, the intransigence of both sides has led to this gridlock, there is always space for a compromise that could de-escalate the crisis. However, such compromise should be characterised by a number of principles that could help the two sides present the future agreement as a win-win situation. Continue reading >>
03 Oktober 2017

Eskalation: Bericht aus Barcelona, Teil 3

Ich habe es rechtzeitig zum Flughafen geschafft, wenngleich mit Mühe. […] Continue reading >>
02 Oktober 2017

Sozusagen ein Referendum: Bericht aus Barcelona, Teil 2

Niemand kann mehr sagen, was das Recht ist in Katalonien. So ist das bei Revolutionen: Das alte Recht gilt nicht mehr, das neue noch nicht. Es gilt, was sich am Ende effektiv durchsetzt. Die spanische Regierung, da sind sich alle meine Gesprächspartner einig, hat mit den hässlichen Bildern von Polizeiknüppeln und Platzwunden gestern eine schwere Niederlage erlitten. Aber wer am Ende gewinnt, ist damit noch längst nicht raus. Continue reading >>
01 Oktober 2017

Die unmögliche Revolution: Bericht aus Barcelona, Teil 1

Dies ist keine Stadt in Aufruhr, ganz im Gegenteil. Niemand in den Menschenschlangen vor den Wahllokalen hat Angst. Von der Zukunft, wie das tatsächlich werden wird ohne Madrid und so ganz auf sich gestellt, davon ist kaum die Rede. Die EU-Mitgliedschaft, die rechtlichen und wirtschaftlichen Folgen, das wird dann schon werden. Es sind die gut Ausgebildeten, die sich einreihen in die Schlange, die Bessergestellten, die Alteingesessenen, die sich nicht zu fürchten brauchen (glauben). Sie freuen sich. Und vor allem: sie wollen wählen. Die Frage ist: mit welchem Recht? Und mit welchen Folgen? Continue reading >>
27 September 2017

The Catalunya Conundrum, Part 3: Protecting the Constitution by Violating the Constitution

Lacking legitimacy in Catalonia because of the absence of solutions to Catalan democratic claims within the Spanish legal framework, the position of Spanish institutions is badly weakened. Therefore, they do not to want to take the risk of creating even more political unrest in Catalonia with public and explicit debates on the suspension of autonomy or on the necessity of limiting fundamental rights. Instead, Spanish government is pushing other institutions, such as the Constitutional Court, prosecutors, police and judges, as well as their own executive powers, beyond their ordinary limits. Continue reading >>

The Catalunya Conundrum, Part 2: A Full-Blown Constitutional Crisis for Spain

In Part 1, we have explained the rigidity of the constitutional doctrine of our Constitutional Court on the matter of regional independence movements. There are some evident conclusions that swiftly appear – most of all that the only legal  way for a hypothetical majority of Catalan citizens to express their wish to secede or at least to consult with the population on the issue, would presuppose a constitutional reform. This is a tremendously complicated matter in itself, though. Continue reading >>
26 September 2017

The Catalunya Conundrum, Part 1: How Could Things Come to Such a Pass?

In a three-piece series of blog posts, I will focus on three issues: the different attempts made in recent years by Catalan secessionists parties trying to find a lawful way to ask the population about the independence of Catalonia and Spanish legal system’s responses blocking them; how this gridlock has led to a constitutional crisis in Spain and what could be possible solutions; and finally why concerns about the Spanish authorities’ reaction may be well founded, thus creating a potential conflict at the European level. Continue reading >>
17 September 2017

The Catalan Self-Determination Referendum Act: A New Legal Order in Europe

The Catalan Parliament is taking the secession process to the next level. By illegitimately passing two Acts that constitute a Catalan proto-constitution, a constitutional coup d'état and a new legal order are on their way. Continue reading >>
09 September 2017

The EU and the Catalan Crisis

The events of the past week in Catalunya (and of the weeks that will follow) are very serious and worrying. Catalunya is a region of a Member State of the EU that has begun a unilateral process of independence, disregarding the Constitution, its Statute of Autonomy and the opposition of half of the Catalan population. It’s a remarkable challenge for Spanish democracy. It’s a challenge for the EU as well. Continue reading >>
18 Juli 2017

The Catalan Self-Determination Referendum Draft Bill: A New Form of Transitional Constitutional Regime

The draft of the Catalan Self-Determination Referendum Act is a disturbing piece of legislation. It announces a constitutional coup d'état of unprecedented dimensions within the European Union. Continue reading >>
11 Juli 2017

Marriage Equality and the German Federal Constitutional Court: the Time for Comparative Law

The enactment of marriage equality in Germany two weeks ago has sparked a constitutional debate that is taking place in Verfassungsblog like in many other media. There will probably be constitutional challenges to the introduction of marriage for same-sex couples in German law at the level of ordinary laws and without amendment of the German Basic Law, because many believe that a constitutional amendment would have been required. Hence, as it very often happens in Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court will very likely have to decide on the question. However, in the international scene of constitutional jurisdictions it will not need to break any ice. Continue reading >>
24 April 2017

The Spanish Constitutional Court on the Path of Self-Destruction

Recently, the Spanish Constitutional Court has published one more decision in application of the new reform of the Law on Constitutional Court which increased its powers for the execution of its own decisions. It is clear that Catalonian sovereignist politicians are acting irresponsibly and provoking the Spanish powers. The only good way to answer to this challenge is a balanced and neutral response of the Constitutional Court every time they adopt an illegal act. Instead, the Court assumed a political role. He tries to stop even any talk about independence. By doing so, it fails to respect its own role as keeper of a Constitutional framework where very diverse ideologies can be discussed. Continue reading >>
27 März 2017

Damaging the Legitimacy of the Spanish Constitutional Court

The Spanish legislative burdens the Constitutional Court with the task to prevent Catalonia from pursuing independence. To use the Constitutional Court as the main barricade against any attempt at starting the independence process does tremendous damage to the Court itself as it undermines its perception as neutral arbiter and, thereby, its legitimation. Continue reading >>
22 März 2017

The Catalan Secessionist Movement and Europe – Remarks on the Venice Commission’s Opinion 827/2015

The Venice Commission has issued an opinion on a Spanish statute on the Constitutional Court's authority. This statute is to be read as a concrete response to the Catalan secessionist movement. The Commission now reveals the European perspective on it... Continue reading >>
02 Februar 2017

What is the Situation of Constitutional Jurisdiction in Europe? Worrying News from Spain

Although the situation in Poland is unique, the speed at which the Polish Constitutional Court has been subjugated should make the rest of us think about the regulations concerning our Constitutional jurisdictions and about the behaviour of other political actors with respect to them. Recent developments in Spain have led me to these reflections, and I would like to describe them briefly here to sound the alarm about what happens in other European countries more discretely than in Poland, but also very disturbingly. Continue reading >>
23 November 2016

Catalonian Independentism, the Spanish Constitutional Court and the Perils of the Middle Way

The Spanish Law 15/2015 (Organic Law) was a key element of the last Government of Mariano Rajoy in his fight against Catalonian Independentism. It gives the Spanish Constitutional Court a new executive power to suspend temporally a democratic authority if it does not obey a Constitutional Court’s resolution. A recent decision of the Spanish Constitutional Court has validated the Bill on the idea that the Court must have special deference to the legislature whenever the judgment is on the statute that regulates the jurisdiction of Court. The Court solves the dispute without a deep discussion on the merits. Once again the Spanish Court leaves a feeling of intellectual fragility. Continue reading >>

Scotland, Catalonia and the Constitutional Taboo of Secession

The UK constitution does not allow Scotland to unilaterally secede in the case of Brexit - in that respect its situation is not unlike Catalonia's. Given the political nature of the UK uncodified constitution, it is almost unthinkable that a similar judicialisation of politics will occur in the UK as it did in Spain. However, unless Westminster takes seriously into account the demands of the devolved administrations in the Brexit negotiations, there is a real danger that a serious constitutional stalemate will occur. Continue reading >>
06 Mai 2016
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„Ein Land hat ein Recht darauf, regiert zu werden“

Spanien steht vor Neuwahlen, nachdem die Parteien im Parlament monatelang keine mehrheitsfähige Regierung zustandegebracht haben. Ex-Verfassungsgerichtspräsident und -Generalanwalt am EuGH Pedro Cruz Villalón sieht im Verfassungsblog-Interview die Parteien in der Schuld und prophezeit seinem Land eine assymetrisch föderale Zukunft – möglicherweise mit Vorbildfunktion für Europa. Continue reading >>
15 Februar 2016

Regierungsbildung in Spanien: der unbedachte König und der listige Anwärter

Spanien hat fast zwei Monate nach den Parlamentswahlen immer noch keine Regierung. Im Augenblick bemüht sich Pedro Sánchez, der sozialistische Spitzenkandidat, um eine mehrheitsfähige Koalition. Dabei war es eigentlich sein Konkurrent Mariano Rajoy von der konservativen Partido Popular, der als relativer Wahlsieger den Auftrag zur Regierungsbildung hätte bekommen sollen. Dieser hatte aber das Angebot des Königs überraschenderweise abgelehnt – ein Vorgehen, das gegen Artikel 99 der Spanischen Verfassung (SV) verstößt und die ohnehin schon schwierige Regierungsbildung zusätzlich verfassungsrechtlich überschattet. Continue reading >>
30 September 2015

„The key to the solution lies in Spain, not in Catalonia“

Why did the territorial conflict between separatist Catalonia and the Spanish central government escalate so badly? What is at stake in a country historically ridden by civil war and separatist terrorism? What needs to be done to resolve the conflict, and by whom? In an interview with Verfassungsblog, Benito Aláez Corral, constitutional law professor from Oviedo, explains how the Spanish constitution needs to be amended to satisfy the demand for national self-determination in Catalonia and maintain the constitutional integrity of Spain. Continue reading >>
21 September 2015

Crisis, what Crisis? Some Views from Spain on the Recent Refugee Crisis in Europe

The Spanish approach to the ongoing refugee crisis is certainly striking given the general lack of involvement and indifference with which the national government has addressed the issue. The same cannot be said of other subnational authorities (i.e. autonomous regions, municipalities, etc.) or the general public, who have been particularly active and eventually contributed to the mobilisation of the national government, thus modifying its initial attitude. One should not find extraordinary this reluctance in addressing the problem of refugees, as it in fact reveals a remarkable continuity with the actions of previous governments, whatever their political colour. This undoubtedly constitutes quite a paradox: even if during its recent turbulent history Spain has been generating refugees in large numbers, with the establishment of democracy its attitude towards the notion of asylum revealed a striking lack of ambition. Continue reading >>
22 Dezember 2014

Spain’s Public Safety Bill as “Administrative Law of the Enemy

A few days ago, the Spanish Congress approved by absolute majority (179 votes) a new Public Safety Bill (Proyecto de Ley Orgánica de Seguridad Ciudadana). This law, if it becomes enacted (which it certainly will), will give the Spanish government sweeping powers to crack down on peaceful demonstrations, to mention just one of several disturbing features of what seems to be a piece of “administrative law of the enemy”. Continue reading >>
14 Oktober 2014

The Catalan Question and the Spanish Constitutional Court

How the Catalan independence consultation was derailed, what role the Spanish Constitutional Court played and how the process differed from the one in Scotland. Continue reading >>
31 Oktober 2013

Muss Straßburg hinter der Eurokrise zusammenkehren?

Die Eurokrise und der fürchterliche Flurschaden, den sie in Südeuropa […] Continue reading >>
16 April 2013

Wenn nicht mit euch, dann halt ohne euch

27 Mitgliesstaaten hat die EU (ab Juli 28), und überall […] Continue reading >>
08 November 2012

Die Homo-Ehe: There’s no stopping it

Es ist über der Aufregung über Obamas Wiederwahl weitgehend untergegangen. […] Continue reading >>
31 Oktober 2012

„Racial Profiling“ ist verfassungswidrig

Inwiefern es einen Akt „schöngeistiger Rechtspflege“ (so der Vorsitzende der […] Continue reading >>
12 Mai 2011

Von den Grenzen der Gewalt

Prügelnde Ehemänner sind eine furchtbare Sache. Sie wird noch furchtbarer, […] Continue reading >>
01 Juni 2010

Vergangenheit, die nicht vergeht, lässt sich nicht amnestieren

To assert that it is a crime for a national […] Continue reading >>
14 April 2010

Der Fall Baltasar Garzón: Ein Vertrauenstest für die Justiz

Über den Fall Baltasar Garzón, den spanischen Untersuchungsrichter und Diktatorenjäger, […] Continue reading >>
17 Oktober 2009

Das Ende einer Ära in Spanien

Baltazar Garzon ist einer der berühmtesten Juristen der Welt. Kaum […] Continue reading >>
23 September 2009

Kann ein Plebiszit verfassungswidrig sein?

Die Antwort scheint ganz einfach: Klar kann es. Nach deutschem […] Continue reading >>
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