Polexit – Quo vadis, Polonia?

Unkenntnis und Unwille sind in Polen heute an der Tagesordnung: Unkenntnis darüber, wie das europäische Recht und die europäischen Institutionen funktionieren und Unwille, sich an die freiwillig eingegangenen europäischen Verpflichtungen zu halten. Wir sind Zeugen, wie in Polen die Grundprinzipien der EU untergraben werden. Wenn aber das Rechtssystem der EU in Polen nicht mehr wirksam ist, ist das: der Polexit. Die bedenkenlose Säuberung des Obersten Gerichts, schließlich die Aushebelung der Vorabentscheidung, die Einschüchterung der Richter durch Disziplinarverfahren, das alles ist leider bereits der Polexit. Richtig verstanden bedeutet der Polexit allerdings sehr viel mehr als die Nichtanerkennung des europäischen Rechts und die Angriffe auf die Gerichte.

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Judicial Responses to Bolsonarism: The Leading Role of the Federal Supreme Court

Criticism against the Brazilian judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, has been on the rise in the past couple of decades. Under Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency, however, courts are experiencing a more radical and dangerous form of opposition, which transcends the borders of legitimate criticism and undertakes a direct attack on the judicial branch. This must be understood in light of the Federal Supreme Court’s backlash against Bolsonaro’s maneuvers to flame his supporters and violate the Brazilian Constitution of 1988. This article aims at recollecting the most important rulings and procedures that take part in this reaction.

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The ‘Constitutional Military Inter­vention’: Brazil on the Verge of Democratic Breakdown

After numerous judicial defeats in the past couple of months, Bolsonaro chose to travel down the path of intimidation and defiance rather than institutional reform: Through dubious constitutional interpretation, he and his supporters are ascribing to the armed forces the role of a “constitutional moderator” in order to undermine the independence of the Supreme Court.

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The Struggle of Strasbourg

This year’s Winter Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) saw three distinct yet interrelated developments. On Tuesday, the Assembly decided to open a monitoring procedure with regard to Poland on behalf of the ongoing rule of law backsliding. On Wednesday, the Assembly decided to ratify the credentials of the Russian delegates which had previously been challenged both on procedural and on substantive grounds. Still on Wednesday, the Assembly backed the proposal for the introduction of a new ‘complementary joint procedure’, together with the Committee of Ministers, in response to violations of fundamental principles underlying the work of the organisation.

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When Journalists Weaken Democracy or How to Better Communicate the Rule of Law

Discussing years of controversies between Polish lawyers and the ruling Law and Justice party, the law professor Marcin Matczak concluded: “We won the legal discussions, but we lost the public debate.” Despite manifest violations of the law, Poland’s ruling party did not lose votes in recent parliamentary elections. In Hungary the situation seems to have been even worse. The public debate was not lost, it hardly took place. That’s a problem.

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Threats to Brazilian Democracy Gain Traction

Democracy in Brazil is under attack and facing a significant level of backsliding. The developments in recent years, from Dilma Rousseff’s parliamentary coup to Jair Bolsonaro’s ascent to power, have shown that democracy erodes in an incremental process. Lawmaker Eduardo Bolsonaro has recently taken another step in that direction when he publicly suggested that a 1964-1985 dictatorship’s decree should be repeated in case the Brazilian left-wing movements took a more radical position. His statements are prohibited under Brazilian law and Brazil’s institutions need to hold Eduardo Bolsonaro accountable in order to put brakes on the country’s democratic decline.

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CVM Here, CVM There: The European Commission in Bulgaria’s Legal Wonderland

On 13 June 2019, Bulgaria’s Minister of Justice Danail Kirilov declared that he would resign unless the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism to which Bulgaria was subjected was lifted before the end of the Juncker Commission’s term. This statement comes in the middle of a highly controversial reform proposed by Kirilov. The reform is one of the key arguments Bulgaria intends to use to persuade the European Commission that the CVM should be terminated this year.

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This is how Bulgarian Judicial Independence Ends…Not with a Bang but a Whimper

Bulgaria notoriously ranks at the bottom of all judicial independence and corruption indexes in the EU, even lagging far behind Member States such as Hungary and Poland. Under the guise of implementing EU recommendations and the case-law of the European of Human Rights, a reform proposal by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Justice is about to threaten Bulgaria’s judicial independence even further.

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Is Bulgaria’s Rule of Law about to Die under the European Commission’s Nose? The Country’s Highest-Ranking Judge Fears So

On 17 April 2019, the President of Bulgaria’s Supreme Court of Cassation Lozan Panov was the keynote speaker at a yearly event dedicated to court independence. In his speech, Panov painted a vivid, yet gruesome picture of Bulgaria’s rule of law which is about to die like an oblivious frog in a pan of hot water reaching tipping point. Sadly, EU institutions have been turning a blind eye to the troublesome developments in Bulgaria for far too long.

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Is This President Erdogan’s Last Term in Office? A Note on Constitutional Interpretive Possibilities

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as president in 2014. In 2018, he was elected to the same position for a second term. The Turkish Constitution, aside from one exceptional case, is clear in its command that no-one may serve as president for more than two terms. Is this, then, President Erdogan’s last term in office? The short answer is maybe.

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