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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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’).

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