Playing the chicken game: The conflict over Italy’s draft budget reveals a construction flaw in the EMU

The next period of nightlong European summits and standoffs between the European institutions and one of its member states is looming: Italy and the EU are at odds about its new budget proposal. This is a result of the setup of the Economic and Monetary Union, which will continue to produce such stalemates as long as dominant countries make common rules for their own sake and others try to circumvent them.

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Rumours made in Germany: Wie das Auswärtige Amt das Menschenrecht der Auswanderungs­freiheit kriminalisiert

Das Recht zur Ausreise und Auswanderung stellt ein allgemein anerkanntes Menschenrecht dar. Das dürfte auch im Auswärtigen Amt bekannt sein. Stattdessen aber finanziert das Ministerium eine geschmacklos bebilderte Anzeigenkampagne, in der es heißt: „SAY NO TO ILLEGAL EMIGRATION“. Auf diese Weise werden Migrationswillige gezielt desinformiert und wird die Ausübung eines Menschenrechts kriminalisiert.

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What Being Left Behind by the Rule of Law Feels Like, Part II

By now it must be clear to all that the Hungarian and Polish governments do have a plan that is built on staying within the Union, and changing it from the inside, (ab)using its institutions, resources and weaknesses to their own benefit. Every round and every step where European institutions falter in preventing moves to this effect is an opportunity for the offending member states to pursue their strategies even further.

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Guilty of Homelessness – The Resurgence of Penal Populism in Hungary

In Hungary, “residing in public spaces as habitual dwelling” constitutes a petty offence punishable by community service work or confinement. Even though the constitution had been amended to provide a basis for that, it is not inconceivable that the criminalization of being homeless is found unconstitutional.

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Iudex calculat: Why Constitutional Scholars Should Surmount their Allergy to Numbers

Law students often mention poor math scores as a reason to elect their course of study. Refugees of a world increasingly dominated by numbers and number-crunchers, jurists often wear the adage “iudex non calculat” as a badge of honour. Surmounting the discipline’s allergy to numbers could do some good not just to constitutional judges but also to the scholarship that concerns itself with the discussion of the constitutional texts they are supposed to apply but also with the decisions they churn out.

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Toleranz ja! Aber gegenüber wem? Der österreichische Blasphemie­straftat­bestand vor dem EGMR

Das am 25.10.2018 veröffentlichte Urteil des EGMR in E.S./Österreich (Beschwerde Nr. 38450/12) hat für erhebliches Aufsehen und einige Aufregung und Kritik gesorgt – zu Recht. Die ganz auf den konkreten Sachverhalt fokussierte Entscheidung interessiert vor allem für das, was sie nicht oder nur am Rande behandelt: die Kriminalisierung blasphemischer Äußerungen durch Bestimmungen wie § 188 StGB.

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What Being Left Behind by the Rule of Law Feels Like, Part I

On October 25, 2018 Central European University (CEU) made international news again. President and Rector Michael Ignatieff announced that CEU is moving to Vienna, unless the Hungarian government makes progress by December 1, 2018 on the international agreement it is meant to sign with the State of New York under Hungarian law. In the last few hours many readers of this blog, friends and colleagues, took to asking how I felt about this. Disappointed, frustrated – but most of all: betrayed.

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The Italian Budget Drama – Brussels and Rome on Collision Course

The EU Commission has, for the first time, rejected a budget plan of a member state. While the Italian government drums its chest and the markets get increasingly nervous, the situation remains deadly serious. It is moreover deeply symptomatic of the potential, limits and fundamental shortcomings of the current architecture of Eurozone fiscal governance.

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Lesbische Eltern! Warum das Kindeswohl keinen Aufschub mehr verträgt

Lesbische Frauen können in Deutschland seit mehr als einem Jahr eine Ehe schließen. Im Recht der Eltern-Kind-Zuordnung werden sie aber immer noch nicht gleichbehandelt. Das will ein Gesetzentwurf von B90/DIE GRÜNEN ändern. In der Bundestagsdebatte verwiesen zahlreiche Abgeordnete auf bestehende Prüfungs­erfordernisse. Die Prüfungen sind aber längst erfolgt. Die rechtliche Gleichstellung lesbischer Co-Mütter darf nicht weiter vertagt werden.

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Though this be Madness, yet there’s Method in’t: Pitting the Polish Constitutional Tribunal against the Luxembourg Court

At the beginning of October 2018, Poland’s Prosecutor General submitted a request to the Constitutional Tribunal to examine the compliance of Article 267 TFEU with the Polish Constitution, so far as it allows the referral of preliminary questions regarding the organization of the national judiciary. Despite the relatively easy identification of motives underlying the application, there is need for analysis and evaluation of the contents of the application as well as the argumentation used as justification for this task, not least because there is a lot at stake.

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Slovenia’s Supreme Court rejects the European Court of Human Rights

On Wednesday 24th of October the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia made a striking, indeed unprecedented, announcement. After a rather uncontroversial and routine ruling by the ECtHR, the Supreme Court has declared – in a mere press release and without any justification – that it respects only the rulings of the Strasbourg Court that it finds persuasive. In so doing, Slovenia hints at joining the regimes of Russia and Turkey.

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