Constitutional Resilience

Resilience of a body in general describes the ability to cope with an attack on its immune system. What is undisputed in psychology or biology is also valid for legal bodies, in particular for states. The term “constitutional resilience” obviously refers to the abilities of constitutions to cope with attacks and in the end to cope with a real crisis. In searching for answers on what constitutional resilience is, this article asks three questions: Where are the vulnerable parts of a democratic state governed by the rule of law? How can one protect the vulnerability of the state or some of its features? If vulnerable parts of a Constitution are properly protected – are the democratic state and its constitution safe?

Continue Reading →

Damaging the Legitimacy of the Spanish Constitutional Court

The Spanish legislative burdens the Constitutional Court with the task to prevent Catalonia from pursuing independence. To use the Constitutional Court as the main barricade against any attempt at starting the independence process does tremendous damage to the Court itself as it undermines its perception as neutral arbiter and, thereby, its legitimation.

Continue Reading →

The Catalan Secessionist Movement and Europe – Remarks on the Venice Commission’s Opinion 827/2015

The Venice Commission has issued an opinion on a Spanish statute on the Constitutional Court’s authority. This statute is to be read as a concrete response to the Catalan secessionist movement. The Commission now reveals the European perspective on it…

Continue Reading →

Is the EU Commission’s Rule of Law Fight about Poland already lost?

In ten days, the deadline set by the EU Commission to Poland in the current stand-off about the Polish constitutional crisis will expire. A lot is at stake for both sides. In Warsaw few expect that the Commission will still be able to keep the ruling party from having it their way.

Continue Reading →

Hat die EU das Kräftemessen mit Polen bereits verloren?

Zehn Tage. So lange hat Polens Regierungspartei mit dem schönen Namen "Recht und Gerechtigkeit" (PiS) noch Zeit, den Konflikt mit der EU-Kommission um das polnische Verfassungsgericht beizulegen. Für beide Seiten steht enorm viel auf dem Spiel. Doch in Warschau rechnet kaum jemand damit, dass die EU die Entmachtung des Verfassungsgerichts noch stoppen kann. Eine Recherche.

Continue Reading →

Poland, Hungary and Europe: Pre-Article 7 Hopes and Concerns

The European Commission’s opening of a rule of law dialogue with Poland in the new pre-Article 7 format developed last year is an important test of European constitutionalism both on the EU and on the Member State level. The mechanism is meant to address systemic violations of the rule of law in several steps, in the format of a structured dialogue. The new procedure does not preclude or prevent the launching of an infringement procedure by the Commission. The probe into Poland’s measures against the Constitutional Tribunal and its new media regulation is expected to test the viability of an EU constitutional enforcement mechanism against a Member State.

Continue Reading →

Polish Constitutional crisis goes to Europe – or does it?

The latest move by the Polish government in its attempt to disembowel the Constitutional Court looks, on first sight, like a conciliatory gesture: The Minister of Foreign Affairs has submitted two proposals amending the Act on the Constitutional Court to examination by the Venice Commission, the expert body on constitutional issues of the Council of Europe. Does this turn to Europe signal a change of heart in the revolutionary zeal on the part of the Polish government? Not so fast. On closer inspection, the request appears conspicuously ambiguous. The motion does not even specify in sufficient detail what text(s) the Venice Commission is to provide its opinion on.

Continue Reading →