Is the European Union with its motion for military intervention against refugee smugglers asking the UN Security Council to bless a blatant breach of international human rights law? James C. Hathaway, one of the most respected experts on international refugee law in the world, on Europe's response to the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean Sea, on its failure to provide protection for the 3,8 refugees from Syria and the urgent need for a global system of shared responsibility. Continue reading
Up for Debate
The return of a majority Conservative government in last week’s general election in the UK has made the Conservative Party’s plans for reforming human rights law in the United Kingdom a likely prospect. It is recalled that on 3 October 2014, the Conservative Party published its policy document ‘Protecting Human Rights in the UK’ which sets out its proposal to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) and replace it with a new British Bill of Rights. In addition, the policy document also raised the prospect that the UK might withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). But none of that is as easy as it sounds. Continue reading
If the UK will leave the European Union after a Brexit referendum in 2017, Scotland will either have to secede or, unwillingly, leave the EU along with the rest of the Kingdom. Or so goes conventional wisdom. Is the prospect of a non-independent Scotland remaining part of the EU while the UK leaves really totally inconceivable? Not entirely. Continue reading
The latest dangerous ideas of PM Orbán and his government to reintroduce the death penalty in Hungary, to legitimate the disclosure of immigrants through the foreseeable result of a ‘national consultation’, and to legalize the segregation of Roma in public education further undermine the democratic values of Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union. This new wave of anti-rule-of-law populism is a direct consequence of the continuous decline of the governing party’s popularity. Continue reading
Some time ago this blog has lent itself as a platform for an intense debate on a systemic rule of law and democracy defiance in several EU Member States, most notably in Hungary. In that context, I contributed a short post on what I then called the de facto failed Slovenian democracy. I described a judicial process against the leader of the opposition, who was accused and convicted with the force of res judicata exclusively on the basis of circumstantial evidence for having accepted a promise of an unknown award at a vaguely determined time, at an undetermined place and by an undetermined mode of communication to use his influence, then as a Prime Minister, to have a military contract awarded to the Finnish company Patria. The ruling was confirmed by the Supreme Court and then appealed to the Constitutional Court. Two days ago the latter quashed the entire process. Continue reading
The legal status of case-law is ambiguous in most legal systems. It is in fact a constitutional matter, a matter of separation of powers. If the judges can “make” the law, doesn’t it make them the equivalent of the legislative power? The legal situation of case-law in France traditionally reflects this ambiguity. However, a recent trend in French law seems to imply that case-law is progressively accepted as a source of law. The latest example of this is a decision from the Tribunal des conflits on the 9th March 2015. Continue reading
In the past days, an estimated 1,000 people drowned in the Mediterranean, when two boats sank in quick succession. The urgent call for a search and rescue system adequate to the situation is completely justified. Assistance in distress at sea is an age-old international obligation, which was laid down in several international treaties, and to denounce it as support for smugglers is as cynical as it is misleading. If smugglers aren’t to profit from these needs, legal access to asylum must be opened—showing the very solidarity to overstrained countries in the region that the Refugee Convention demands in its preamble. This requires a radically different approach; the measures envisaged by the EU are but a meager beginning. Continue reading
On April 28th, the Italian Constitutional Court will hold a public hearing on the constitutionality of the planned independence referendum in the northern Italian region of Veneto. Unlike its Scottish and Catalan counterparts, the Veneto secession case has been largely ignored on the national political level in Italy. From a legal point of view, the unconstitutionality of an independence referendum seems hard to deny. But politically, nevertheless, treating regional separatism as a taboo could endanger the very thing it seeks to protect, the one and indivisible Republic of Italy. Continue reading
My small contributing message to this debate is that nudging plays an important role in aid politics. Substantially, there are parallel debates going on, and you might find some of the insights useful by means of transferral. As this is a new and explorative debate, there might still be space for some inspiration from related fields. Continue reading
The result of the current British election campaign could be crucial for the future of the UK’s relations with the European Union. Every UK-wide election party which is likely to win seats in the election has now released its election manifesto, namely: the Conservatives;Labour; Liberal Democrats; UKIP; and the Greens. It’s therefore a good time to examine what the parties are saying about the EU, and what the various post-election scenarios would mean for the UK’s relations with the EU. Continue reading
In many EU countries, constitutional law blogs with large audiences have emerged, putting forward pointed opinions and profound expert knowledge on topical matters of public policy. We want to connect these blogs and encourage the creation of new blogs to form a tightly-knit network of cooperation. Within one year we want to set up an organizational framework to exchange texts and authors, to launch joint debates on current constitutional issues and to establish a vibrant constitutional public sphere in Europe. For this, we need your support. Continue reading
Financial crises, genocides, environmental catastrophes, epidemics, wars – constantly things happen we knew exactly that they would a) happen with some likeliness or even certainty, and b) be absolutely horrible. And still we have let it happen. And not just because we could not help it. But because somehow, all things considered, we did not want to. We haven’t done what we could have done. We didn’t want to know what we could have known. What is this strange phenomenon about? And how can we improve ourselves? To find answers to those questions, last week an extraordinarily illustrious group of scholars from all sorts of disciplines had assembled at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. Continue reading
In less than two weeks we will know whether or not Scotland will remain part of the UK. In the polls, the No camp still leads, but just by a slight and shrinking margin. It might actually happen what has never happened before: One EU member state becomes two. Or, will they? Continue reading
Obama did it, Cameron too, and now Germany seems determined to do it as well: Angela Merkel seeks advice in behavorial economics, according to her spokesman, in order to try more
Five years ago this blog first saw the light of day. Continue reading
This article is available only in German.
For five years Bosnia has been digging its heels in, refusing to align its constitution to the demands of the ECHR and to grant non-bosniacs, -serbs and -croats the right to be elected to its second chamber of legislation. Now, the Strasbourg Court has once again declared this state of affairs unacceptable. But what if it would hold other constitutional systems, such as that of the European Union, up to the standard it applies in the Bosnian case? Continue reading
An often heard argument in the debate on the burqa ban decision by the ECtHR is that a minimum of "vivre ensemble" is a condition of all freedom and hence a legitimate balancing factor with the rights to privacy and religious freedom. This, though, is irreconcilable with the "right to be left alone". Continue reading
This article is available only in German.
This article is available only in German.