The Commission takes a step back in the fight for the Rule of Law

The European Commission has filed a complaint against Poland with the Court of Justice of the European Union based on Article 258 TFEU, in connection with the Polish Act on the Common Courts System. Fines may be charged on Poland as a result of the case, but the Commission has probably quietly withdrawn some of its charges, apparently opting for the somewhat modified “Hungarian scenario”. The impact of this new approach on the reversibility of the changes introduced to the Polish judiciary will be very limited.

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The European Commission’s Activation of Article 7: Better Late than Never?

On Wednesday, the European Commission reacted to the continuing deterioration of the rule of law situation in Poland. The remaining question, of course, is why this argument has been used in the context of 7(1) as opposed of 7(2) given that the situation on the ground in Poland is clearly – in the view of the Commission, the Venice Commission and countless other actors – one of clear and persistent breach of values, as opposed to a threat thereof. The explanation might lie beyond the simple difficulty of the procedural requirements related to the sanctioning stage.

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Understanding the Politics of Resentment

Transitioning from „resentment” as an emotion of rejection and critique of the unsatisfactory liberal status quo to the more formalised and institutionalised „politics of resentment” is crucial in our understanding of the ascent of illiberal narratives in Europe. It gives us a chance of harnessing resentment in more conceptual terms and schemes.

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Mind the Gap! Schwierigkeiten der Rechtsstaatlichkeit in der EU

Seit Ende des Kalten Krieges haben sich sowohl internationale Organisationen als auch nationale Regierungen den Grundsätzen der Rechtsstaatlichkeit verschrieben – allerdings oft nur in Form von Lippenbekenntnissen. Welche Probleme resultieren aus diesem Vorgehen in der EU und vielleicht noch wichtiger: Was sollte dagegen unternommen werden?

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Art. 7 EUV im Quadrat? Zur Möglichkeit von Rechtsstaats-Verfahren gegen mehrere Mitgliedsstaaten

Ungarns Veto blockiert einen Beschluss nach Art. EUV, Polen das Stimmrecht im Rat zu entziehen, und umgekehrt. Lässt sich das Veto umgehen, indem ein Verfahren gegen beide Mitgliedsstaaten gleichzeitig eingeleitet wird?

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Lex CEU: On the Commission’s Refusal to Disclose its Letter of Formal Notice in the Name of Mutual Trust

This post will offer a brief account of my unsuccessful attempts to gain access to the Commission’s letter of formal notice addressed to Hungary on 26 April 2017, that is, the letter adopted by the Commission in response to the adoption by the Hungarian authorities of what has become known as the Lex CEU. Before offering a critical assessment of the Commission’s reasoning, a brief account of the relevant context will be offered. This post will end with some general remarks on the EU’s repeated failed attempts to prevent illiberal not to say authoritarian regimes from consolidating within the EU.

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Much Ado About Nothing? Legal and Political Schooling for the Hungarian Government

After his infamous law against the Central European University, the EU Commission has announced a treaty infringement procedure against Hungary. That will probably be of limited help against the systemic threat to the rule of law in Viktor Orbán’s state. Politically more effective might be the pressure exerted by the European People’s Party.

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Vertrauenswürdigkeit und Rechtsstaatlichkeit: Was die Kritiker der EU nicht sehen (wollen)

Es gibt Probleme der Rechtsstaatlichkeit im europäischen Rechtsraum. Viele sprechen gar von einer Vertrauenskrise in die Europäische Union. Trägt Vertrauen als europapolitische und juristische Perspektive, und was sind die Implikationen?

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The Return of the Sovereign: A Look at the Rule of Law in Hungary – and in Europe

The Hungarian law makers have enacted a law that will make the operation of foreign-funded universities all but impossible, and aim to do the same to foreign-funded NGOs. These measures fail to meet even the most basic features of how legal rules are envisioned in a rule of law framework. The carefully crafted new Hungarian laws use the cloak of national security to stab the rule of law, as understood in Europe, in the heart.

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Poland and the European Commission, Part III: Requiem for the Rule of Law

On 20 February 2017, the Polish government has replied to the European Commission’s rule of law findings. That reply is so clearly absurd, rude and full of ‘alternative facts’ that the case to trigger the sanction mechanism in Art 7 TEU promptly is more compelling than ever. It is time for Member State governments to get their act together and make explicit their disapproval of a government that finds it acceptable not only to violate its national Constitution and EU values in plain sight but also to bully and disrespect EU representatives such as Frans Timmermans and Donald Tusk.

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