“Ultimately, the member states decide” – interview with Andrew Moravcsik on the Scottish referendum and European Union politics

Andrew Moravcsik One week after the Scottish vote, has life for the EU come back to normal? Life is short, and we should not spend so much time on things that are highly unlikely to occur. About 75% of what we read … Continue reading

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Sat 27. September 21:40
“Ultimately, the member states decide” – interview with Andrew Moravcsik on the Scottish referendum and European Union politics
Thu 25. September 19:41
Pitfalls of the National Selection Processes of Judges to the ECtHR
Thu 25. September 12:27
Back to post-9/11 panic? Security Council resolution on foreign terrorist fighters

Up for Debate

“Ultimately, the member states decide” – interview with Andrew Moravcsik on the Scottish referendum and European Union politics

Andrew Moravcsik

One week after the Scottish vote, has life for the EU come back to normal? Life is short, and we should not spend so much time on things that are highly unlikely to occur. About 75% of what we read in the newspaper concerns things that might happen and don’t. The Scottish referendum was one such story. It turned out to be closer than people thought, but the probability that it was ever going to pass was always in single digits. (The same goes, by the way, for the probability that Britain will ever vote to pull out of the more

263 Andrew Moravcsik

Pitfalls of the National Selection Processes of Judges to the ECtHR

Jernej Letnar Černič

Even though the selection process in the Council of Europe is quite rigorous and strict, it does not fully exclude the possibility of day-to-day politics interfering with the national selection process. The Council of Europe does not have much influence on the national selection procedures. Consider, for instance, the ongoing difficulties to select a judge on behalf of Slovenia. Continue reading

262 Jernej Letnar Černič

Back to post-9/11 panic? Security Council resolution on foreign terrorist fighters

Martin Scheinin

The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution on foreign terrorist fighters. It is not a mere political declaration adopted at highest political level but a “legislative” resolution with “teeth,” adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and therefore legally binding for all UN Member States and obtaining, by virtue of Article 103 of the Charter, primacy in relation to any other international agreement of states. The resolution constitutes a huge backlash in the UN counter-terrorism regime, comparable to Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1373, adopted in the immediate aftermath of the atrocious terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It wipes out the piecemeal progress made over 13 long years in introducing protections of human rights and the rule of law into the highly problematic manner in which the Security Council exercises its supranational powers. Continue reading

261 Martin Scheinin

For a Constitutional Convention for the United Kingdom

Cormac Mac Amhlaigh

If one thing became clear from the referendum, it was the idea that the Westminster Parliamentary system was ‘broken’, so much so that Alex Salmond took to using the ‘Westminster establishment’ as a term of derision in the week before the vote. Yet what we are seeing in the pre-referendum ‘Vow’ as well as Cameron’s post-referendum speech is more of the same; constitutional reform being jealously fought over by the exclusive club of the three main Westminster parties where each party tries to promote or prevent a proposal which will promote or prevent them from getting into power sooner or promote or prevent them from holding onto it for as long as possible. This is precisely what has caused political disengagement and voter disaffection not just in Scotland but right across the United Kingdom. Continue reading

258 Cormac Mac Amhlaigh

The First Conference on Public Law in the Common Law World: Some Impressions of an Outsider

Anna Katharina Mangold

Apparently, public law in common law jurisdictions is coming of age. From Monday, 15th September, until Wednesday, 17th September 2014, the first major conference assembling public lawyers from common law jurisdictions around the world took place at Cambridge. I found the conference to be highly stimulating, and felt that it provided me with a rough idea of the current struggles public lawyers in common law jurisdictions are facing up to. Continue reading

29 Anna Katharina Mangold

“There was truth in what the independence sectors objected to”

Saskia Sassen

Will the No victory in the Scottish referendum settle the matter of independence once and for all? Is nationalism the right word for the Scottish independence movement? Was it England so many Scots wanted to part ways with - or rather the Global City of London? Five questions to the sociologist Saskia Sassen. Continue reading

93 Saskia Sassen
 Focus  Scotland's EU Membership

Scotland and the EU: Eleventh hour thoughts on a contested subject

Sionaidh Douglas-Scott

Is the ‘spectre of disintegration’ haunting Europe? Joseph Weiler fears that it is, and that, were an independent Scotland to be admitted as an EU state, this would lead to a domino effect whereby others would demand independence within the EU – testimony of an atavistic, retrogressive mentality, and adverse to the EU’s raison d’etre. This is a strongly put view, and not all will agree with it. Nonetheless, most of the papers in this highly stimulating symposium address, albeit in very different ways, the concern that lies at the base of Weiler’s argument – namely, the character of the EU, the nature of its values, its very reason for being. They also address the more workaday, but nonetheless critical, legal and practical issues that an independent Scotland’s membership pose. Continue reading

247 Sionaidh Douglas-Scott
 Focus  Scotland's EU Membership

Scotland and the EU: Comment by CHRISTOPHE HILLION

Christophe Hillion

Like many participants in this stimulating symposium, I am in agreement with several of Sionaidh Douglas-Scott’s contentions. But like some others, I am less persuaded by one of her conclusions: namely, that a treaty revision based on Article 48 TEU would suffice to codify an independent Scotland’s membership in the EU. While admittedly unprecedented, such a situation could not in itself warrant a complete disregard of EU membership rules, eg Article 49 TEU. As part of ‘the particular constitution and rules of the EU’, they should instead be applied, given their specific function in the treaties, albeit in a ‘pragmatic and purposive fashion’ in consideration of the existing and future ties between Scotland and the EU. Continue reading

256 Christophe Hillion
 Focus  Scotland's EU Membership

Scotland and the EU: Comment by CARLOS CLOSA

Carlos Closa Montero

No one disagrees that an independent Scotland qualifies for EU membership and that it would no doubt become an EU member state. Why then is there so much normative argument around “seamless transition”? It may or may not happen and, should it come it pass, I believe that it may be a good thing, albeit that I fail to see a “normative” case which supports it. Why should third parties guarantee to a self-determining self that its constitutive decision will be costless regardless of any other consideration? This would deprive citizenship of an essential responsibility for decisions taken which I consider indispensable to democracy. Continue reading

255 Carlos Closa Montero
 Focus  Scotland's EU Membership

Scotland and the EU: Comment by NEIL WALKER

Neil Walker

The presence of the EU both offers a spur to new projects of national sovereignty but also, and in my view more emphatically, it supplies a set of considerations which makes the project of new statehood less pressing, less consequential, and provided we can trust in continuing UK membership of a continuing EU (both of which statuses, of course, need careful attention) less relevant and ultimately unnecessary. Continue reading

254 Neil Walker
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Op-ed

Will an independent Scotland stay in the EU?

2014-09-05 Schottland
(c) James Stringer, Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

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

Bosnia and the problem of generalizable human rights gauges

2014-07-15 Bosnien
(c) Amanda Robinson, Flickr CC BY-BC-ND 2.0

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

Burqa Ban: My Right to Be Left Alone is Your Tough Luck

2014-07-07 Trespassing
(c) Michael Dorausch, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

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

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