Misguided ‘Associate EU Citizenship’ Talk as a Denial of EU Values

Guy Verhofstadt is famous for articulate ‘The answer is more Europe’ positions on all issues European. Jan-Werner Müller might be right: should there have been no Verhofstadt, Eurosceptics would have had to invent him. This is particularly so given his position on EU citizenship for UK nationals after Brexit as the chief European Parliament Brexit negotiator. In this contribution, I explain why playing with any kind of ‘associate EU citizenship status’ for the Brits after Brexit is a terrible idea undermining all what should be cherished about the project of European unity.

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The Rule of Law in Poland: A Sorry Spectacle

With political appointments to its National Council of the Judiciary, Poland is now seeing the next step in the dismantling the rule of law. The change in the procedure for appointments to the Council was one of the reasons thousands of Poles took to the streets last summer to protest in the name of independent courts. Their fears have turned out to be well founded.

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Has the CJEU just Reconfigured the EU Constitutional Order?

On 27 February 2018 the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) handed down a judgment in Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses v Tribunal de Contas. The case concerned a legal challenge of the Portuguese association of judges against austerity measures temporarily reducing the salaries of public sector workers. The CJEU may have used it to potentially reconfigure a long-standing compromise underlying the EU constitutional order, and to send a signal to Poland (and others) and preparing for future engagement with what could possibly be independent Polish courts.

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Advertising: Global Constitutionalism (Journal) Volume 6, Issue 3
November 2017

Global Constitutionalism

Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law

  • Global constitutionalism and constitutional imagination

  • Civil disobedience as transnational disruption


Will Finance Policies solve the EU “Refugee Crisis”?

The German government is floating the idea of restructuring EU funds to benefit member states that take in migrants and refugees. What seems like a selfish move by the country that hosts the largest number of refugees in Europe may be an step towards resolving the lingering EU political crises.

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History, Memory and Pardon in Latin American Constitutionalism

Do pardons have an effect on crimes against humanity? For the last few days, Peruvian society has been debating the pardon of its former president Alberto Fujimori, who has been convicted of crimes against humanity in 2009. On February 20 at the Max Planck Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte, the Legal Historian and member of the Constitutional Court of Peru, Dr. Carlos Ramos Núñez, presented a crucial intervention on the problems that face the current constitutionalism in Latin America.

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Who will Count the Votes in Poland?

In the shadow of an international outcry concerning a grotesque and speech-restrictive Polish law which would punish anyone attributing to Polish nation co-responsibility for crimes during the 2nd World War, a much more dangerous change has been quietly brought about, and just completed. A change which gives the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) necessary mechanisms to “control” the election outcomes. To put it bluntly – a change of the electoral system which will make it possible for PiS to commit electoral fraud allowing it to stay in power, regardless of the voters’ preferences.

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EU Leaders’ Agenda: Who’s Afraid of Reforms?

Last Friday’s ‘informal’ meeting of the European Council was a key moment in what its President, Donald Tusk, proudly calls his Leaders’ Agenda. Tusk wanted the event to prove that the heads of government are in charge of the EU constitutive process, and to prevent either the European Parliament or the Commission from seizing the initiative. As such it misfired.

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Think Twice before Speaking of Constitutional Review in Turkey

German journalist Deniz Yücel has been freed from the Turkish prison he was held captive for a year. That the partial undoing of an unjust judicial decision had nothing to do with human rights, and everything to do with “diplomacy” – as Gabriel admitted – became all the more evident a few hours later. While one court in Istanbul released Yücel, another sentenced seven Turkish journalists to aggravated life in prison on charges of involvement in the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016. In addition to being the first conviction of journalists in relation to the putsch attempt, the ruling is also remarkable due to its implications for Turkey’s constitutional regime.

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Converging Human Rights and Economics?

The adequacy of pensions, equality, mitigating impact on the poor, and protecting vulnerable persons and groups currently seem to rank high on the agenda of both economists and human rights lawyers. If this is a sign of convergence between the two regimes, it would be more than welcome as that may be the only way of overcoming the hegemonic struggle over which vocabulary to frame the discussion in.

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The Emerging Trend of Parliamentary Performance: Freedom of Expression in the Hungarian National Assembly

Laurent Fabius, the former President of the French National Assembly, once called the parliament, rather poetically “a theatre of shadows”. It was a harsh criticism of the mostly formal and insignificant role of parliament in the legislative process under the excessive dominance of the Executive. A few years ago Hungarian opposition MPs decided to turn their own “theater” into something more meaningful, or at least more amusing. They have been using all kinds of creative techniques to express their opinion in the hemicycle. It seems, however, that the Speaker and the parliamentary majority do not really appreciate this new trend of performing arts for they constantly impose heavy penalties on the MPs. This practice is a reminder that the principle of parliamentary autonomy needs to be reconsidered in light of contemporary political realities.

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Memory Wars: The Polish-Ukrainian Battle about History

Recent events show that the conflict between Ukraine and Poland over  the interpretation of controversial historical events of World War II has reached a point to be classified as ‘memory war’. These political initiatives from the both sides have destroyed the first achievements of the Ukrainian-Polish dialogue on mutual repentance, forgiveness and commemoration of the innocent victims killed during the conflict in 1940s.

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The German NetzDG: A Risk Worth Taking?

While the NetzDG is unlikely to resolve all challenges surrounding social media and freedom of expression, and undoubtedly presents a certain risk of stifling expression online, I believe it is nonetheless a significant step in the right direction. Rather than undermine freedom of expression, it promises to contribute to more inclusive debates by giving the loud and radical voices less prominence. In any case, it appears reasonable to let this regulatory experiment play out and observe whether fears over a ‘chilling effect’ on free expression are borne out by the evidence.

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