The Edge of Enlightenment – The EU’s struggle with post-fascist cynicism (article on Völkerrechtsblog)

Recently, Harvard professor Steven Pinker’s book “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress”, which explores the effect of the Enlightenment on contemporary societies worldwide and also anti-Enlightenment movements in the West, became an international bestseller. Applying his findings about the age-old symbiotic relationship between certain elements of “Western civilization” and (post-) Fascism to certain developments both at the EU level and in individual member states, we can an uncover alarming rise in legal cynicism being applied to deal with these scenarios.

You can access the article here, on the website of Völkerrechtsblog.

I also gave a presentation about this topic on the cynical international law conference at Free University Berlin. You can download my slides here.

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Conference on Cynical International Law in Berlin

Program

Friday, 6 September 2019

Conference website: https://www.jura.fu-berlin.de/en/fachbereich/einrichtungen/oeffentliches-recht/lehrende/kriegerh/forschung/AJV/Programm/index.html

Conference Venue: Henry Ford Building, Freie Universität Berlin (Garystraße 35, 14195 Berlin). Welcome and Keynote SpeechLecture Hall A (Hörsaal A), Panels: Senate Hall (Senatssaal)

Download program

9.30-9.45          Welcome 
Prisca Feihle (Freie Universität Berlin) / Dr. Björnstjern Baade (Freie Universität Berlin)

Prof. Dr. Klaus Hoffmann-Holland (Vice President, Freie Universität Berlin)

 

9.45-11.00        Keynote Speech
Prof. Dr. Gerry Simpson
 (London School of Economics and Political Science)

11.00-11.20          Coffee Break

 

Panel 1: Cynical Foundations of International Law
11.20-13.20

Chair: Dr. Dana Burchardt (KFG International Rule of Law / Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

 

Prof. Dr. Theresa Reinold (Universität Duisburg-Essen)
Cynicism and the Autonomy of International Law

Comment: Prof. Dr. Martti Koskenniemi (University of Helsinki)

 

Ass. Prof. Dr. Gabriel Lentner (Danube University Krems)
Beyond Cynicism and Critique: International Law and the Possibility of Change

Comment: Prof. Dr. Janne Nijman (University of Amsterdam)

 

Prof. Hengameh Saberi (Osgoode Hall Law School of York University)
Cynicism in International Law: A Path to Political Entrepreneurship

Comment: Prof. Dr. Andreas von Arnauld (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel)

 

13.20-14.20          Lunch Break

 

Panel 2: Cynical Actors in International Law
14.20-16.20     

Chair: Raphael Schäfer (Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law)
Konstantin Kleine (Graduate Institute Geneva)
The International Law Commission as a Club of Cynics? Originalism and Legalism in the Commission’s Contemporary Work

Comment: Prof. Dr. Patrícia Galvão Teles (Autonomous University of Lisbon)

 

Daniel Ricardo Quiroga-Villamarin (Graduate Institute Geneva)
From Speaking Truth to Power to Speaking Power’s Truth: Transnational Judicial Activism in an Increasingly Illiberal World

Comment: Prof. Dr. Andreas Paulus (Universität Göttingen)

 

Christian Pogies (Goethe University Frankfurt)
Oceans of Cynicism? Norm-Genesis, Lawfare and the South China Sea Arbitration Case

Comment: Prof. Dr. Nele Matz-Lück (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel)

 

16.20-16.40          Coffee Break

 

Panel 3: Cynicism in EU Law
16.40-18.15

Chair: Linus Mührel (Technische Universität Dresden/Freie Universität Berlin)
Ass. Prof. Dr. Tamas Ziegler (Eötvös Lorand University)
The Anti-Enlightenment Tradition as a Source of Cynicism in the EU

Comment: Prof. Dr. Christian Calliess (Freie Universität Berlin)

 

Jesse Claassen (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Assessing the Strategic Use of the EU Preliminary Ruling Procedure by National Courts

Comment: Prof. Dr. Sigrid Boysen (Helmut-Schmidt-Universität Hamburg)

 

20.00    Dinner

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Panel 4: Cynicism in the Sub-Fields of International Law
9.00-11.00       

Chair:  Lena Riemer (Freie Universität Berlin)

 

Caroline Omari Lichuma (Universität Göttingen)
In International Law We (Do Not) Trust: the Persistent Rejection of Economic and Social Rights as a Manifestation of Cynicism

Comment: Prof. Dr. Dominik Steiger (Technische Universität Dresden)

 

Dr. Shiri Krebs (Deakin University School of Law)
The War on International Law: Legal Cynicism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Comment: Prof. Dr. Marco Sassòli (Université de Genève)

 

Elisabeth Baier (Carlo-Schmid-Fellow at the International Criminal Court)
Zynismus? Ja Bitte! Embracing Cynicism in International Criminal Law

Comment: Elisabeth Baumgartner LL.M. (swisspeace)

 

11.00-11.15          Coffee Break

 

Panel 5: Cynicism and Abuse of Rights
11.15-13.15

Chair: Alicia Köppen (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Philipp Janig (Universität der Bundeswehr München)
‘Cynical’ Outgrowths of Nationality Planning in Investment Law

Comment: Prof. Dr. Campbell McLachlan (Victoria University of Wellington)

 

Andrea Faraci (Italian qualified lawyer) and Luigi Lonardo (King’s College London)
Abuse of Right in International Law: A Roman Law Analogy

Comment: Prof. Dr. Helmut Aust (Freie Universität Berlin)

 

Dr. Helene Hayden (Higher Regional Court Vienna)
The European Concept of Abuse of Rights – an Analysis Based on Aggressive Tax Practices

Comment: Prof. Dr. Franz Mayer (Yale) (Universität Bielefeld)

 

13.15-13.30      Concluding Remarks
Prof. Dr. Heike Krieger 
(Freie Universität Berlin)         

13.30                Light Lunch

Book launch in Rome!

We present our book Human Rights of Asylum Seekers in Italy and Hungary – Influence of International and European Law on Domestic Action (published by G. Giappichelli & Eleven Publishing). My chapter is called EU Asylum Law: Disintegration and Negative Spillovers.

I believe this could become a very important book these days, when the human right standards we took for granted got abolished, when Hungary keeps refugees (even families) detained without food and thousands die each year in the Mediterranean Sea.

New article in El Pais on academic freedom in Hungary (in Spanish)

HUNGRÍA Y LA RESTRICCIÓN SISTEMÁTICA DE LA LIBERTAD ACADÉMICA

Link: http://agendapublica.elpais.com/hungria-y-la-restriccion-sistematica-de-la-libertad-academica/

My lecture at the Free University Berlin

I tried to theorize the limitation of academic freedom in Hungary and the EU. The lecture was called “The anti-Enlightenment tradition and the limitation of academic freedom – A search of domestic and EU-level answers”. The slides are available here.

“Let them come to Berlin!” – Yes we are here!!!!

In May I stay as a guest researcher at Freie Universität Berlin in the framework of their research project “Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS)”. My researches about the European anti-Enlightenment tradition, EU disintegration and the limitation of academic freedom fits completely among the topics of the project.

I will also give a lecture (Otto Suhr Institute colloquium) on 27th May at 16:00. The title will be “The anti-Enlightenment tradition and the limitation of academic freedom: a search of domestic and EU-level answers”.

“The Cluster of Excellence Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS) analyzes the contemporary controversies about the liberal order from a historical, global, and comparative perspective. What are the causes of the current contestations? How do they differ from earlier crises? What are the consequences for democracy and the global challenges of the 21st century?… In addition to Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, five other Berlin-based research institutions are participating in SCRIPTS: the Centre for East European and International Studies, the German Institute for Economic Research, the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, the Hertie School of Governance, and the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient.” The description of Scripts is available here. Their website is at https://www.scripts-berlin.eu/.

scripts

 

My lecture at the Geneva workshop on the EU and the crisis of the international liberal order

That was such a magnificient event, thanks for the organizers and the participants! The slides of my lecture are available here. I mixed my researches on a European anti-Enlightenment tradition and EU disintegration.

Protectionism – the side-effect of Hungarian nationalism

Back in 2012, I wrote an article for Social Europe about protectionist actions by the Hungarian government – already back then, many of us knew that the state will have to pay compensation for some of its actions. Recently, two new awards were adopted by ICSID: in the UP case, according to the judgment adopted in October 2018, the Hungarian state had to pay 23 million Euro as compensation, and in the Sodexo case decided a couple of weeks ago, the compensation was 73 million euro. As Social Europe removed my article a couple of months ago (they faced technical difficulties, so they erased old articles), please find it below (again: it’s from 2012, since that time, hundreds of similar actions happened!!).

For the cases see Sodexo Pass International SAS v. Hungary (ICSID Case No. ARB/14/20), Edenred S.A. v. Hungary (ICSID Case No. ARB/13/21) and UP and C.D Holding Internationale v. Hungary (ICSID Case No. ARB/13/35); See also Sarthak Malhotra: ICSID tribunal finds Hungary in breach of expropriation clause in France–Hungary BIT Investment Treaty News at https://www.iisd.org/itn/2018/12/21/icsid-tribunal-finds-hungary-in-breach-of-expropriation-clause-in-france-hungary-bit-sarthak-malhotra/

Hungary’s government has lately found itself in the cross hairs of critics both international and domestic. Its detractors point to two major issues. First is the barrage of potentially anti-democratic and positively useless laws that have been adopted over a single year, including a new constitution, media law, acts affecting the judicial and electoral systems, governance of the national bank and more – three hundred laws so far. A consequence of this torrent of legislation is that several EU regulations have been violated. As a result, the European Commission has instigated proceedings against Hungary for infringements of EU law on three counts. Secondly, due to the economic crisis and the bad and unimaginative economic policies of the present and earlier governments in Budapest, fiscal policy has become subject to harsh criticism. Due to a chronic structural budget deficit, EU cohesion funds allocated to Hungary have now been suspended – a measure that will be reviewed in June. The government has tried to counter scathing international opinion with nationalistic, arrogant statements as part of an aggressive campaign against the EU and the IMF. The prime minister, Viktor Orbán has accused the EU of imperialism, of double standards hurting Hungary, and directly compared its methods to those of the communist regime and the Soviet Union.

However, besides fears for democracy and worries over economic problems, there is a third issue regarding Hungary which has been overlooked by the media – the conflict between the founding principles of the common European market and nationalistic protectionism: recently, free movement of goods into Hungary, the free establishment of companies and guaranteeing fair competition all seem to have been impaired. Over a year ago, the current Italian PM Mario Monti, former EU Commissioner and also a professor of economics (former Rector of Bocconi University) wrote a report for Commission President José Manuel Barroso concerning the effect of the financial crisis on the European Economic Area.[1] The report warned that the effects of ill-conceived fiscal policies together with the economic crisis could cause nationalistic governments to adopt a protectionist, “market defending” attitude that would contravene the fundamental rules of the EU.

That is exactly what seems to be happening in Hungary today. Stemming from the current nationalistic agenda, some of the recent legislation adversely affects the internal market, especially the free movement of goods, services and capital. The notion of protectionism in politics is not new in the country. Its governments of recent times, both left and right wing, have always attempted to propagandize the sale of Hungarian goods and to shore up the interests of domestic companies – a respectable aim when kept within certain limits. One motive for this was the lack of Hungarian economics to produce several types of valuable goods that could be distributed throughout Europe or even worldwide. Another cause was the lack of thinking internationally – while the European market of 500 million people certainly is a great historical achievement, utilising is yet to be learnt. Therefore, the government’s aim was to increase domestic consumption of Hungarian goods, especially foodstuffs and agricultural produce, which are major a major part of the country’s output. The fallacy of favouring a market of 10 million instead of a one of 500 million was never highlighted.

The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) stresses that the Union shall comprise a customs union that shall cover all trade in goods.[2] Moreover, all discriminating taxes or quantitative restrictions on imports or exports and measures having equivalent effect shall be prohibited among member states.[3] In practice, this means that there is generally no room for discrimination between goods in the EU, irrespective of their origin. For example, if a company imports German beer into Hungary, it can be sold under the same conditions as Hungarian beer. These provisions have been unchanged for 40 years – ever since the free movement of goods between member states was established at the end of the sixties. The fundamental principles have been tested in numerous cases before the European Court of Justice (ECJ). They are taught all over Europe, including Hungary. One of the earliest rulings of the ECJ was in the “Buy Irish” case.[4] There, the ECJ decided that no member state had the right to advertise domestic products by declaring that “by organizing a campaign to promote the sale and purchase of Irish products within its territory, Ireland has failed to fulfil its European obligations” (at the time, under the Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community). While the ruling applies equally to organizations or associations funded by government, in another case,[5] the ECJ later ruled that the provisions of European law do not prevent such a body from drawing attention to the specific qualities of fruit produced within the member state. Yet it would still be clearly contrary to European law to discourage the purchase of products from other member states, as well as to disparage those products in the eyes of consumers, or to advise consumers to purchase domestic products solely by reason of their national origin.[6] Then in 1986, a Commission Communication was published as a guideline, which reemphasized and interpreted these rules.[7] The Communication laid down that an identification of the producing country by word or symbol may be made providing that a reasonable balance between references to the qualities and its national origin is kept.

With respect to the free movement of goods, there is no possibility available to discriminate foreign companies or the Hungarian subsidiaries, branches or agencies of foreign companies.[8] Moreover, any discrimination based on nationality shall be prohibited.[9]

The first Hungarian legislative efforts clearly conflicting with European rules were made by the left wing government that ran the country until 2010. Surprisingly, only five years after Hungary’s accession to the European Union, they wanted to adopt a law which would have forced shops and supermarkets in Hungary to sell at least 80% Hungarian. The law would have benefitted Hungarian producers, since agriculture and the food industry is traditionally strong in the country. However, it is obvious that the law would have caused a serious violation of the rules of the internal market – and especially of the provisions concerning the free movement of goods.[10] After realizing that passing such an act would have been contrary to EU law, the government pushed some of the representative organizations[11] of domestic food producing and vending companies into signing a so-called “Code of Ethics on the Food Production Chain” (“the Code”). The Code, which, legally speaking was “just” an agreement, contained similarly discriminatory provisions to the previously proposed legislation and its approach was also contrary to EU law, especially EU competition policy. In fact, it was also partially in conflict with Hungarian competition law. Consequently, the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) started an investigation into the case. After realizing that the signed Code had never entered into force and that the representative organizations did not have authority from their member companies to bind them to such an arrangement, the Competition Authority subsequently closed the case and ceased the investigation.[12] The second of such attempts, another damp squib, had failed.

And here we are in 2012, witnessing the third similar attempt. Recently, the nationalistic right wing government adopted a law that tries to discriminate against foreign companies and force the consumption of Hungarian-produced food in a new, crafty way. The government (or, to be more precise, a ministry) adopted a law (decree),[13] creating the so-called “Erzsébet voucher” (Erzsébet utalvány – “Voucher”). Previously, three major multinational firms were issuing the bulk of such food vouchers (Sodexo, Chèque Déjeuner and Edenred). The vouchers could be given to employees as a tax-free benefit – now only the state voucher can be given this way, wile the tax after the other three vouchers is 51%. The new voucher (bizarrely named after a saint of Hungary, Saint Elisabeth) is issued by a single governmental entity, the so-called Hungarian National Recreation Foundation (Magyar Nemzeti Üdülési Alapítvány).

 


An Erzsébet voucher to the value of HUF 500

The voucher’s introduction served two main purposes. First of all, the international firms former dealing with the distribution of such vouchers may well be pushed out of the Hungarian market. Government offices and state universities have started to end contracts with them in favour of using the new, state sponsored vouchers. Secondly – and this is a very crude violation of Hungary’s obligations – when launched, the new vouchers could only be used at three supermarket chains, all under sole Hungarian ownership: CBA, Coop and Reál. No foreign-owned chains such as Tesco, Lidl and Spar were allowed to accept the vouchers. Only after the European Commission started its investigation into violations of EU law, was one additional supermarket, Tesco also included in the voucher scheme, starting 15 April 2012. Therefore, barring future changes, there are only three Hungarian chains and a single foreign one approved by the issuing authority to accept the vouchers, with all other supermarkets excluded. According to the latest news, these new vouchers are also planned to be used by the state in place of cash for issuing social and family benefits – the details of these rules are so far unclear. This voucher system in its present – and likely future – state clearly violates Art. 56 of the TFEU, which states that restrictions on the freedom to provide services within the Union shall be prohibited in respect of nationals of Member States. Moreover, there may also be an effect on the freedom of establishment since the activities of foreign companies are being limited by current rules. The European Commission has warned the ministries responsible in Hungary that if the voucher scheme is not changed, it will start further proceedings against the country for infringement of EU law. Moreover, there exist another, less important discriminating type of the vouchers. Latter is called SZÉP kártya (SZÉP Card), and is used as a voucher for holiday purposes – to pay at hotels, bathes, etc. However, it can not be used at branches of foreign companies. EU law and the expectation of cooperation with other countries aside, the regime may well remind us of communist era and its food stamp system. Back then, people received food stamps instead of money to buy groceries. That time round, history proved that such thinking is incapable of survival – but to reach the very bottom takes a long time, sometimes decades.

Besides the free movement of goods and services there are numerous other legal measures which are being debated, and which may have a debasing effect on the free market – regardless of whether or not they are found legal. For example, the Hungarian state is in the process of establishing a Hungarian state-owned mobile telecommunications company.[14] According to officials, this is necessary because government branches and municipalities are not satisfied with the quality of mobile telecoms services provided by the existing three providers Vodafone, T-Mobile and Telenor – a hilarious argument by any standards. We expect that central and municipal bodies of government and state agencies will be “recommended” to choose the services of the new state company instead of the present ones.

Moreover, in one of the latest scandals, several Hungarian right wing newspapers have received money directly from municipalities and state agencies – essentially, money from taxpayers, while a privately owned research institute called Századvég has received funds from the government amount to an enormous €10 million. Századvég is close to the governing party Fidesz, with its former president István Stumpf – currently a judge in the Constitutional Court of Hungary – who has previously served as chief of staff at the prime minister’s office.

In addition to the above, in order to gain funds to survive fiscally, this government has nationalized the private pension system. As a result of dire state of the economy and a feeling of hopes lost, younger people with marketable skills are fleeing Hungary en masse – this is particularly visible in the case of low paid medics. The government’s answer is to make students who did not themselves pay for their studies to pay tuition if they leave the country after graduation. This approach is – in our opinion – not contrary to EU law, provided that an agreement including these conditions is concluded when a student commences studies, as it is now being done. However, in many instances foreign students have to pay a tuition fee, even when local students do not have to pay, which may well violate European law. In the EU, students from an EU country should have the same rights and obligations as local students, a point reiterated by the ECJ.[15]

Talking about the free movement of people: in our opinion the banning of Hungary’s former president, Mr László Sólyom from entering the Slovak Republic in 2009 was also a great mistake in the region irrespective of the opinion of the Advocate General and the factual and legal background.[16] It is surely wrong for one EU member state’s president to be denied into another just because this was believed to score popularity points in national politics.

In closing, we can be certain that nationalism has a very strong effect on the internal market, and it can be costly for all of us in Europe. The fuzziness of democracy in Hungary, which infringes the rights of domestic citizens goes hand in hand with the lost profits of foreign companies. The only strategy that can lead Hungary and other EU “newcomers” forward is that of co-operation.

Co-operation is needed by domestic companies and individuals to be able to produce more marketable goods. Government projects are necessary to boost such business activities. The system of the EU was built to be favourable to those states which are able to conduct business worldwide. In the wake of the economic crisis, we believe that the problem is not with the private sector but the public one. The response of governments all over has been similar: austerity measures. However, this cannot be their strategy forever: we have seen governments in Hungary use this corrective method repeatedly since the return to democracy in 1990. The stimulation of growth in business, which would bring with it increased tax receipts, was not a favoured measure. Prolonged austerity may lead to a negative spiral with cuts leading to poorer public services but public funds that are still lacking. If cutting expenses is a must, this should be done alongside measures and packages designed to stimulate growth.

Co-operation with foreign investors is also a necessity: capital is visibly flowing out of Hungary. For foreign entities to invest, a stable and constructive tax system and carefully considered economic policies are required – which of course also means that domestic cliques are relegated to the background and politicians do not play games with the national currency and send shock waves through the business world every other day with news of new taxes and bizarre announcements.

Finally, Hungary needs better connections with foreign business actors. This may sound odd, but one of the keys would be education, where the government has recently made sweeping reforms, without any attempt to Europeanise the education system – the changes only served fiscal purposes. In fact, we need more foreign language programs and more educated, mature people who are able to see the world outside their home country. PM Monti was right: isolationism is not the answer to our problems. We have seen several mid-sized European countries left at the sidelines for decades because a selfish and narrow-minded political elite, kept in power by a population lacking productivity together set back economic growth. It’s 2012, not the middle ages: the days when we could live by ourselves are gone and hopefully will never return again.

[1] A New Strategy For the Single Market at the Service of Europe’s Economy and Society, Report to the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso by Mario Monti. http://ec.europa.eu/bepa/pdf/monti_report_final_10_05_2010_en.pdf

[2] See Art. 28 TFEU. Cf. Paul Craig & Grainne de Búrca: EU LAW, 2008 637 et seq.

[3] See Art. 34-35 thereof.

[4] Case 249/81. Judgment of the Court of 24 November 1982. Commission of the European Communities v Ireland. European Court Reports 1982 Page 04005. Cf. Consensus au sein des partis politique sur la question du «made inFrance». Le Monde, 5 April 2012.

[5] Case 222/82. Judgment of the Court of 13 December 1983. Apple and Pear Development Council v K.J. Lewis Ltd and others. European Court reports 1983 Page 04083.

[6] See Art. 1B of the Operative part of the judgement thereof.

[7] Commission communication concerning State involvement in the promotion of agricultural and fisheries products. Official Journal C 272, 28/10/1986 P. 0003 – 0005.

[8] See Art 49 TFEU.

[9] See Art 12 and 61 thereof.

[10] Hungarian Government Declares War on Foreign Food. http://www.chew.hu/hungarian_government_declares/

[11] The organizations were the Hungarian Association of Agricultural Allies and Producers, Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture, Association of Food Processors, Product Council of Milk and Diary Products. Hungarian Organisation and Product Council of Vegetables and Fruits, Professional Organisation and Product Council of Fat Stock and Meat, Product Council of Poultry, Hungarian Trade Association, Hungarian Association of Everyday Consumption Co-ops and Trade Associations.

[12] No Food Production Chain Code, No Proceedings, GVH, http://www.gvh.hu/gvh/alpha?do=2&st=2&pg=133&m5_doc=5993

[13] Decree No. 39 of 2011 of the Minister Responsible for Public Governance and Justice on the issuing of the Erzsébet voucher.

[14] See Hungarian State Group Wins Mobile Phone Licence. Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/31/hungary-mobile-idUSL5E8CV2IB20120131

[15] Case C-147/03. Commission of the European Communities v Republic of Austria. European Court reports 2005 Page I-05969. As a consequence, Austrian universities had to admit a large number of German medical students, who were not admitted in Germany to universities.

[16] See Case C-364/10. Advocate General’s Opinion – 6 March 2012. Hungary v Slovakia.

 

 

The Hungarian government to suppress the independence of the Academy of Sciences

“The Hungarian government is continuing its crackdown on academic freedom. The government first placed all universities in the country under the direct supervision of a chancellor, an administrator appointed directly by the government, and more recently forced Central European University to move most of its programs from Budapest to Vienna. Now, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is subject to a structural reorganization by the government which will lead to the complete loss of academic independence for the Academy specifically and for scholarship in Hungary in general.

Before the elections in April 2018, government officials made clear in statements published in several right-wing media outlets that the government would intensify efforts to put the research institutes of the Hungarian  Academy of Sciences (HAS) under government control because these institutes had not been unquestioning in their loyalty to the government.

What is the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and why does it matter?

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1825 to promote scientific research in Hungary. It was created and maintained with the support of private benefactors. It has since become a national symbol of scientific endeavour and a major centre of cultural life in Hungary. After the First World War, HAS suffered from a major lack of funds, but its autonomy was strengthened and successfully maintained until the last years of the Second World War. Towards the end of the war, purges of the members of the Academy were held by successive regimes (the nationalist-conservative Horthy regime, the Arrow Cross regime which rose to power with the help of the Nazis, a short-lived democratic regime, and the communist regime under Mátyás Rákosi), and by 1948 the Academy had become a typical Soviet-type institution and an organ of the communist state.

Ironically, in the darkest years of the 1950s, an important new element was added to the Academy: the network of research institutes. This network had domestic antecedents, but fundamentally it was based on the Soviet academic world.

After the post-communist democratic transition in 1990, the Academy successfully struggled to retain the values embodied by the various academic institutions, while adapting them to the challenges of the technological revolution. A comprehensive reform of the research network was implemented in 2011–12 by President József Pálinkás, a scholar and former conservative minister of education and research who centralized the smaller institutions into fifteen research centres. The reform introduced a new system according to which scientific performance was evaluated and increased the role of tender-based financing, but it continued to respect the special demands of various disciplines, from the natural to the social sciences and the humanities. Until 2018, academic freedom was guaranteed by the autonomy of the Academy, which was grounded on two pillars affirmed by Law No. XL/1994. First, the Academy was led by a self-governing body of distinguished researchers who played an important role in managing the research centre network and supervising its work. Second, funding was negotiated on non-partisan grounds every year.

In June 2018, László Palkovics, the newly appointed Minister of the newly created Ministry for Innovation and Technology and himself a member of HAS, who enjoyed the strong support of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, proposed a seemingly tiny technical amendment to the 2019 budget laws to reallocate the annual financial support for the academic research centre network from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences to the new ministry. The real goal of this move was unmistakable. It was intended to deprive the Academy of its position as custodian of the largest network of research institutions in Hungary. Furthermore, it strengthens the position of the new minister as the de facto arbiter over the direction of scholarship and academic research in Hungary in general and, more narrowly, the specific topics covered in some fields of the sciences. The minister left the president of the Academy only 54 minutes to comment on the proposal, which the president of the Academy received by email, and the bill was passed within a few days.

In autumn 2018, several meetings took place between Minister Palkovics and the leadership of HAS driven by the Academy’s hope for an acceptable compromise. Events took a dramatic turn after the extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly of HAS in December 2018, when an overwhelming majority rejected the reform plans and expressed support for HAS President László Lovász and the Presidium. Although the Academy had previously agreed to establish fast-track evaluation commissions to assess the scientific performance of the HAS research network by March 31, 2019, it soon became clear that reorganization plans would not take this into account. In mid-January 2019, Minister Palkovics sidestepped President Lovász and met directly with the heads of the Academy’s research institutes to “request” their cooperation in making Hungary’s research and innovation system more “efficient,” i.e. to put it under more direct government control.

Following the model of the reorganization of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2013–14, the fundamental goal of Palkovics’ manoeuvrer against the HAS President was to reduce HAS to an innocuous “academic club” of mostly retired members. The most valuable asset of HAS, its network of research centres with approx. 5,000 active staff members at an average age of 41, would either be transferred to universities and state-controlled research centres or simply eliminated. Entire institutions – mostly in the human and social sciences – would be labelled “unproductive” and dismantled. On January 31, 2019, the National Office for Research, Development, and Innovation, which is controlled by the Ministry for Innovation and Technology, launched a so-called “program of excellence.” According to this new model, research centres must apply for their entire budget by submitting tenders which are assessed according to unclear evaluation principles, allowing for arbitrary, politically motivated decisions. This system replaces the old model of normative financing of the research centre network based on the legally affirmed managerial autonomy of the Academy.

HAS President Lovász and the directors of the research centres face the dilemma of whether to apply for short-term financial support within this new scheme (January 1–December 31, 2019). To do so would mean acknowledging and accepting the end of the post-1989 history of the Academy as a free and autonomous public body and the supervising body of Hungary’s largest scientific research infrastructure. If the Directors choose to comply with the dictate in order to save their employees and projects which are currently underway, they 1) give their support to a move which has been recognized by the legal staff of HAS as “illegal” and “unconstitutional”; and 2) formally defect from their legal employer – the President of HAS. This split would mean the first step toward highly centralized, government-controlled research focused essentially on aims which are considered priorities by the government. If the Directors choose to resist this attempt by the government to assert its control over scholarship and research in Hungary, they jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of employees.

On February 12, 2019 the Presidium of HAS will hold a meeting which promises to be one of its most crucial gatherings in recent decades. Whatever decision is reached, the effects on the Hungarian academic community will be disruptive. If the government is allowed to dismantle the research network of the Academy by force, which seems to be its intention, Hungary will become the first member state of the European Union to reject, explicitly and unmistakably, the fundamental principle of the independence of scholarly research from political interest.

Hungarian Academy Staff Forum (HASF)

February 5, 2019″

Source: https://adf2019.wordpress.com/english/?fbclid=IwAR2VtEiSoINeGQOnskZ7oMPh4RffxASzqtmnEfanm1Wz2taMSr49hvoI_HA 

New article about academic freedom in the EU

This article focuses on the EU’s role in setting the framework for higher education in Europe. The topic has special relevance, as major changes have been made in the sector in certain member states, like Hungary and Poland, and some of these changes are connected with the rule-of-law backsliding in these countries. The paper argues that the European Union should develop a list of fundamental rights that it wants to enforce in higher education among the member states and that this procedure has already started in certain instances. On the other hand, as it has linked higher education to single-market regulations, it cannot proceed concerning the issues that do not have a connection with the market. This inactivity could create ambivalence in judging the same or similar questions and has the potential to create discriminative situations. The article claims that, unlike common presumptions, the EU could find itself competent to act if it would interpret rights in higher education from a fundamental rights perspective instead of solely protecting market rationality.

Ziegler, Tamas Dezso, ‘Academic Freedom in the European Union – Why the Single European Market is a Bad Reference Point’. Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2019-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3317406

PEW’s latest report on Eastern and Western European divide is out

I was happy to give some hints on the European law related issues in the report. You can read the complete report here. It tells a lot about the present stage of European integration.

Differences over the meaning of ‘European values

Is Christianity a “European value?” What about secularism? And how about multiculturalism and open borders?

Leaders often cite European values when defending their stances on highly charged political topics. But the term “European values” can mean different things to different people. For some, it conjures up the continent’s Christian heritage; for others, it connotes a broader political liberalism that encompasses a separation between church and state, asylum for refugees, and democratic government.

For the European Union, whose members include 24 of the 34 countries surveyed in this report, the term “European values” tends to signify what Americans might consider liberal ideals.1 The “Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union” includes respect for cultural and religious diversity; prohibitions against discrimination based on religion and sexual orientation; the right to asylum for refugees; and guarantees of freedom of movement within the EU.2

These rights and principles are part of the EU’s legal system and have been affirmed in decisions of the European Court of Justice going back decades.3 But the membership of the EU has changed in recent years, beginning in 2004 to spread significantly from its historic western base into Central and Eastern Europe. Since that year, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia have joined the EU. In many of these countries, the surveys show that people are less receptive to religious and cultural pluralism than they are in Western Europe – challenging the notion of universal assent to a set of European values.

These are not the only issues dividing Eastern and Western Europe.4 But they have been in the news since a surge in immigration to Europe brought record levels of refugees from predominantly Muslim countries and sparked fierce debates among European leaders and policymakers about border policies and national values.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has articulated one strain of opposition to the EU’s conception of European values, declaring in July 2018 that “Central Europe … has a special culture. It is different from Western Europe.” Every European country, he said, “has the right to defend its Christian culture, and the right to reject the ideology of multiculturalism,” as well as the right to “reject immigration” and to “defend the traditional family model.” Earlier in the year, in an address to the Hungarian parliament, he criticized the EU stance on migration: “In Brussels now, thousands of paid activists, bureaucrats and politicians work in the direction that migration should be considered a human right. … That’s why they want to take away from us the right to decide with whom we want to live.”

This is not to suggest that support for multiculturalism is universal even in Western Europe. Substantial shares of the public in many Western European countries view being Christian as a key component of their national identity and say they would not accept Muslims or Jews as relatives. And of course, the United Kingdom voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, which many have suggested came in part due to concerns about immigration and open borders. But on the whole, people in Western European countries are much more likely than their neighbors in the East to embrace multiculturalism.”

New article in Yearbook of Private International Law (with Sarolta Szabo and Vanda Vadasz)

“One of the truly first codifications of the latter is offered by the new Hungarian Private International Law Act, that we are pleased to present in our National Reports Section. The contribution provides the non-Hungarian reader with the background, principles and theoretical approach adopted by the Hungarian legislator in the most recent methodical reform of a national system of private international law.”

Tamas Dezso Ziegler, Vanda Vadasz, Sarolta Szabó: The New Hungarian Private International Law Code – A Mixture of Modern and Traditional Solutions. In: YEARBOOK OF PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW 2017/2018 (Ed. Andrea Bonomi, Gian Paolo Romani, Swiss Institute of Comparative Law). Verlag Otto Schmidt/Sellier European Law Publishers, 2018, 333-364.

The content of the Yearbook is available here.

The foreword is available here.

An electronic version of the Yearbook is available at De Gruyter here.

Arrived to Heidelberg, the land of parrots (seriously)

I arrived to Max Planck Institute recently. Did not know before that Heidelberg is the land of the roseringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri), a beautiful (and, btw, highly intelligent) parrot, which live around our home at the guesthouse of the university. What an amazing environment!

Photo credit: http://www.10000birds.com This website also gives an explanation regarding their presence, see here.

Yes, we made it

Our colleagues contributed to the Horizon 2020 success

The researchers of the HAS CSS Institute for Legal Studies also contributed to the application for the research funding, which has been awarded a one billion HUF grant by the European Union under Horizon 2020.  The DEMOS (Democratic Efficacy and the Varieties of Populism in Europe) research project, led by HAS Centre for Social Sciences has received one billion HUF (€3 million) from the European Union.

The joint research project is based on a cooperation among 15 European partners, including such distinguished research institutes as the Universities of Hamburg and Copenhagen. Under the strict requirements of the EU Research and Innovation programmes only the most outstanding applications are found eligible for funding. During the evaluation process such criteria are considered by a board composed of  European scholars as professional excellence, social impact, and the expected quality of realisation. The principal investigator of the three-year research programme is Zsolt Boda, the director of HAS Centre for Social Sciences Institute for Political Science, while researchers from other institutes of the Centre also participate in the project.

Source: https://jog.tk.mta.hu/en/news/2018/07/contribution-to-horizon2020-success

Conference on human rights of refugees in Rome

Gave a presentation about the change of EU refugee law at a conference of the Institute for International Legal Studies (ISGI) of the Italian National Research Council (National Research (CNR).

I tried to mix refugee law with European studies. The title of my lecure was ‘Reverse (negative) spillovers and the EU’s refugee crisis – Disintegration within the EU’, you can download the slides of the lecture here.

Please note that we also plan to publish a book about this topic (Human Rights Of Asylum Seekers In Italy And Hungary – Influence Of International And Eu Law On Domestic Actions. G. Giappichelli & Eleven Publishing, Rome, The Hague, will be published shortly.). My chapter in this book will be called ‘EU Asylum Law: Disintegration and Negative Spillovers.’

Please find below the pictures of this last conference.

Visiting professorship at Northwestern Politechnical University in China

I gave some lectures about the EU for the students at NPU in Xi’an. I found the environment as well as the students amazing!

Képtalálat a következőre: „northwestern polytechnical university”
Students were really inquisitive, their command of English was perfect, and after my classes they asked many intelligent questions, which showed that they understood everything correctly and were curious about certain issues (like, for example, about the role of the Court of Justice of the EU). After the class, they also guided me through the campus, which looked excellent, was built maybe ten years ago, and contains one of the biggest university libraries in China (and the biggest university library built on water).

The slides of my introductory lecture about Hungary, Budapest, Eötvös Loránd University and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences can be found here.

The slides of the lecture I gave about EU single market regultions is available here.

My slides on EU external trade law can be accessed here.

NPU has two main campuses, one can be found in the inner city and the other is at the border of the city, I attach pictures of both. They both look marvellous.

Conference at Northwestern Politechnical University in Xi’an, China

I visited Northwestern Politechincal University in Xi’an, China. It was an extremely inspiring journey, met many symphatic, smart and kind colleagues as well as students, and am really grateful for the support I received from the university. I am especially thankful to Na Li from the School of Humanities, Economics and Law.

The conference was called ‘The Silk road to Central Asia’. My presentation was about the Practical Aspects of the New Silk Road Cooperation in the European Union. I tried to give a short, introductory overview about contracting, private international law and state aid/public procurement laws in the European Union. My slides are available hereOne of my colleagues and friends, Balázs Horváthy also talked on this conference about EU-China trade and investor dispute settlement questions. 

I am also grateful to Chen Jie from the Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences, who was kind enough to translate my presentation to Chinese, and to the student body, who helped me a lot and guided me in Xi’an to our meetings.

Habilitation!!!

I obtained the title Dr habil. recently, which is a great honour to me, and I am very happy about it.  I gave my habilitation lectures about the role of social emotions in lawmaking in the EU and the US on 6 April, 2018. 

I had to give two lectures:

  • In the first one (given in Hungarian) I talked about the role of fear in EU and US laws on data protection. The slides of the lecture are available here.
  • In the second one (given in English) I talked about the concept of freedom in US and EU contract law (esp. consumer contracts). The slides of the lecture are available here.

I received the habilitation document directly from the vice-rector (Prof. Lénárd Darázs) of the university in July, it was a very happy day.

 

 

 

 

Article + interview

We wrote together with colleagues an article (in Hungarian) for a mainstream Hungarian weekly on the nature of the Hungarian electoral autocracy (Majtényi Balázs, Unger Anna, Ziegler Dezső Tamás: Egyszerűen senkik vagytok – a választási autokráciáról).

The article is available here.

Later, I also gave an interview (in Hungarian) for this weekly about the new laws on refugees in Hungary, the fascistoid hate-speech campaign of the Hungarian government and the lack of proper answers to the refugee crisis by the EU and its member states.

The interview is available here.

Sometimes it seems it has some sense to write articles about populism

After my last short article was published on Social Europe, I received many encouraging emails, which made me really happy, especially since I represent a minority opinion (thanks to you all!).

Moreover, Professor Simon Wren-Lewis from Oxford University wrote about it on his Mainly Macro blog (‘The two types of populism within Brexit’, the entry can be accessed here).

I also received several articles written by Anton Jäger from Cambridge University. One of them (The Myth of “Populism”) is accessible on Jacobin Magazine hereWhy this piece is interesting to me is because it shows the misunderstandings regarding the roots of American populism, and as such, populism in general.

I also intend to write another article about euroscepticism (it will be called ‘Critisizing the EU – the post fascist, the demagogue, and the proactive way’), as I would like to make it clear that I do not consider every kind of criticism post-fascism, only if such criticism is mixed with racism, overtly nationalism and authoritarianism.

As it seems right now I will also speak on a workshop at Central European University next week about the same topic.

New article – The Populist Hoax (Getting The Far Right And Post-Fascism Wrong)

When political parties are chauvinistic, racist, paranoid, anti-elitist, macho-ist, use emotions to attack minorities, create scapegoats, we cannot say that this is the normal course of democracy.


The article can be accessed here or by clicking on the image above.

Had a wonderful time at Warwick University

I am really grateful to the colleagues at Warwick University,  it was really inspiring to meet them, had a great time at the School of Law. I gave sereval lectures/seminars. One of them was about disintegration within the EU and the occurance of negative (reverse) spillovers in EU law (it was called Negative (reverse) spillovers in EU law – First thoughts on a theoretical framework – the slides are available here). Another lecture was about conflict-of-laws issues,  it was called The magic evolution of conflict of laws – Internationalisation, interdependence and the role of tolerance (the slides are available here).

New article w/ Balazs Horvathy: Europeanization of the Hungarian Legal Order: From Convergence to Cancellation?

Reviewing European Union Accession

Unexpected Results, Spillover Effects, and Externalities

Tom Hashimoto and Michael Rhimes

Book Review – Democratizing Central and Eastern Europe

I wrote a book review about a book on the democratisation efforts of the EU in Eastern Europe (about Luca Tomini’s Democratizing Central and Eastern Europe – Successes and Failures of the European Union. 2015. Routledge).

The book is an interesting attempt to summarize the actions of governments in certain countries of the region. It presents an analysis to the reader about the major changes of governance in some Eastern European countries (like Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia). This analysis can be very useful for readers who do not know too much about these countries, and want to have a basic sketch.

The review can be accessed here, or by clicking on the image above.

 

My lecture in Italy

As mentioned before, I gave a lecture at the Italian National Research Council about Hungary’s actions regarding refugees and the connection of legislative/political changes to European human rights (esp. EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights) in Rome.  The lecture was given in the framework of a joint research project of the Institute for International Legal Studies and the Hungarian Acadey of Sciences on refugee protection.

 

I am grateful for the colleagues at the Institute for International Legal Studies for their cooperation and their support. The slides of my lecture can be downloaded here. They can be useful for anyone who wants to have a draft about Hungary and the international/European standards regarding asylum seekers.

Will visit the Institute for International Legal Studies in Rome

We (ie. the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Institute for International Legal Studies) have a joint research project on refugee protection and EU law/international law standards, I will give a lecture this week on Friday. I am extremely happy to visit Rome, the Institute and the Italian colleagues!

 

Report on barriers of EU citizens’ free movement is out now.

I participated in the works of a report for the bEUcitizen fp7 project (the website of the project is available here),  which was basically a project focusing on the possible barriers EU citizens have to face when moving to another country. Why I liked this project was that it tried to give answers to the actual problems of free movement within the EU, i.e. it tried to focus on barriers and how EU citizen’s life could be helped. As a result, there are some nice reports published which addressed real life problems, many of which are related to administrative procedures or private international law/private international procedural law isues.

I created the country report about Hungarian law in a longer report. Just like the other parts of the work, this chapter focused on many important and interesting questions like family relations in Hungary,  the right to register a name, rules on obtaining citizenship, problems occuring of double citizenships, domestic rules of family unification and their connection to EU law, status of registered partners, some issues of the public register and acceptance of foreign judgments and public documents. The report is available here (for my part see page 220 et seq) or by clicking on the image below.

The slides of my lectures at the University of Bergen (Faculty of Law)

I am very grateful to the Bergen University community, had a wonderful time at the university, the city was beautiful, the discussion was inspiring and I enjoyed my stay a lot. 

I attach the slides of my lectures below:

  • The slides of the first lecture (given for the Research Group in Competition & Market Law) about the connection between EU single market rules, non-discrimination of foreign companies and the new system of oligarchs (Nationalism vs. the single European market – the case of Hungary) can be accessed here.
  • The slides of the second one, a more general lecture (given for the Project Group on Constitutional law and Democracy) about the changes of rule of law in Hungary and their connection with EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights (Constitutionalism, rule of law and the Hungarian phenomenon)  can be accessed here.

Please find my blog entry about the collection of related publications in these fields here, they can serve of interest to anyone who wants to know more abut Hungary’s position within the EU. I also added some more pictures of the university. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Hungary and the EU – a collection of articles

I wrote quite a lot of articles about the conflict between Hungary and the EU in the last 5-6 years.  I also know some articles written by colleagues which can be interesting for scholars worldwide, so I decided to make a collection of them (please find them below).

 

  • Balázs Horváthy, Tamas Dezso Ziegler: Europeanisation Of The Hungarian Legal Order – From Convergence To Divergence. In: REVIEWING THE 10 YEARS OF CEE ACCESSION: SPILLOVER EFFECTS, UNEXPECTED RESULTS, AND EXTERNALITIES. (Hrsg. William B. Simons & Tom Hashimoto). Brill, Leiden-Boston. (soon to get published)
  • The Links Between Human Rights and the Single European Market – Discrimination and Systemic Infringement. Comparative Law Review, Vol 7, 2016 No 1 1-23. available here.
  • When The European Moral Vacuum Meets The Hungarian Autocratic Regime. SOCIAL EUROPE – Occasional paper, 2014 October, available hereAn extended version of this article (which also includes some references), published on Open Democracy,  can be accessed here.
  • Protectionism – A Side Effect of Hungarian Nationalism. SOCIAL EUROPE, available here.
  • In Defence of Today’s Anti-Fascist Protesters. OPEN DEMOCRACY, available here.
  • An introduction into Hungarian national thinking about history and comparison to the UK national thinking: together w/ Izolda Takacs: Myth of History, Euro-scepticism and Fundamental Rights) written for OPENDEMOCRACY, available here.

I also wrote a series of blog entries for London School of Economics – EUROPP back in 2012, when anti-democratic legislation started to flourish in Hungary:

  • The Anti-Democratic Tendencies Now Prominent In Some Parts Of Eastern Europe May Soon Become An Even Bigger Headache For The EU Than The Eurozone Crisis, available here
  • w/ Izolda Takacs: Hungary is Sleepwalking Into an Authoritarian state. But the European Union Is Limited In the Pressure It Is Able To Exert, available here.
  • w/ Izolda Takacs: With the Ruling Party’s Legislative Tsunami, Hungary May Now Be Sleepwalking Into An Authoritarian State, available here.
  • w/ Izolda Takacs: Hungary is Now a Distorted Democracy, available here.

Some other works of my colleagues can also be of interest for you. Please note these are only a handful of articles which I came across in the last months/years, but they contain some really interesting information:

  • Veronika Czina: Member State Particularism within the EU: an Analysis Based on the Most Recent Developments of the “Hungarian affair” UACES Conference Paper, available here.
  • The website of the `Lendulet Research Group on EU law` also contains a great amount of interesting materials including reports and articles. It can be accessed here.
  • A nice and really detailed report on single market and Hungary (called ‘The Legal and Regulatory Environment for Economic Activity in Hungary: Market Access and Level Playing-field in the Single Market’) can be accessed here.
  • A nice collection of articles on the change of the general constitutional framework in Hungary published in the journal Südost-Europa (Hungary’s Path Towards an Illiberal System Volume 63 no. 2 2015): the content and introduction is  available here.
  • It can be worth to read the chapter of Balazs Majtenyi (pp. 51-74) on the constitutional changes in Hungary (The EU and the Hungarioan National Cooperatrion System) in an FP7 report called `EU Human rights, democracy and rule of law: from concepts to practice`  (available here).
  • Balazs Majtenyi: Legislative Stupidities in the New Hungarian Constitution originally published in Rivista Pace Diritti Umani (Peace, Human Rights) is available here
  • Balazs Majtenyi: A Game of Values: Particular National Identities Awaken in Europe, published on Verfassungsblog, available here.
  • Gabor Halmai: An Illiberal Constitutional System in the Middle of Europe, published in European Yearbook of Human Rights, can be accessed here.
  • Kim Lane Scheppele wrote a huge amount of articles on the constitutional changes in Hungary, see the Princeton’s repository here.
  • Bojan Bugarič: Protecting Democracy and the Rule of Law in the European Union: The Hungarian Challenge. LSE discussion paper, available here. 
  • Boldizsar Nagy: Parallel realities: refugees seeking asylum in Europe and Hungary’s reaction (EU Migration Law Blog),  available here.
  • Boldizsar`s article `Hungarian Asylum Law and Policy in 2015–2016: Securitization Instead of Loyal Cooperation`published in German Law Journal can be accessed here.
  • Gabor Halmai: The Invalid Anti-Migrant Referendum in Hungary, published on verfassungsblog, available here.
  • Cass Mudde and Erin K. Jenne: Hungary’s Illiberal Turn: Can Outsiders Help? available here.

How primitive again – judicial demagoguery at its best

This is the case (did not see such “questions” before) in which a preliminary procedure becomes an insult. It also shows how the judicial branch in Hungary accepts the xenophobic, homophobic, racist, paranoid narrative of the Hungarian government regarding the refugee crisis. Privacy and human dignity is not important  any more. What kind of physical examination do they talk about? Sad and very primitive.

” CJEU: C-473/16 F – Request for a preliminary ruling from the Administrative and Labour Court Szeged (Hungary), 29 August 2016

Date:
Friday, October 21, 2016
The Administrative and Labour Court Szeged (Hungary) has referred a request for preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the interpretation to be given to Article 4 of the Qualification Directive. The case relates to a Nigerian national, who had submitted an application for international protection based on sexual orientation in Hungary.

The Administrative and Labour Court Szeged has referred two question to the CJEU:

Should Article 4 of the Qualification Directive be interpreted in light of Article 1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as not precluding that, when LGBTI’s apply for international protection, advice by a psychologist, based on projective personality tests, is taken into account when assessing the application for asylum, even if the opinion was drawn up without any questions asked by the applicant about his sexual habits and without being subjected to a physical examination?

If the expert opinion referred to in the first question cannot be used as evidence, should Article 4 of the Qualification Directive be interpreted that, in the light of Article 1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, when the applicant puts forward, in support of his application, that he is being persecuted because of his sexual orientation, neither the administrative authorities nor the courts have the ability to investigate the credibility of the asylum seeker on the basis of an expert’s report, regardless of the specific characteristics of the methods used in this report?”

A kérdőívező diktatúra #IstandwithCEU #aCEUvalvagyok

Hétfőn az ELTE TáTK-on tiltakozó előadásokat tartottunk a CEU, illetve az akadémiai szabadság elleni barbár kormányzati támadásra reagálva. Jómagam arról beszéltem, hogy hogyan deformálta az autoriter szemlélet az elmúlt években a kormány tevékenységét. E szerint a primitív szemlélet szerint az élet kérdéseire csupán egy jó válasz adható, miközben egy, a szabadságra épülő, nyitott társadalomban az emberek tisztában vannak azzal, hogy tolerancia szükséges az együttélés kereteinek megteremtéséhez. Ilyen értelemben pedig a FIDESz elnyomó rendszere nem a liberálisokkal áll szemben, hanem a demokratákkal, legyenek azok liberálisok, szociál-demokraták, vagy éppen konzervatívok. Nem véletlen, hogy utóbbi csoportból is egyre többen vetik fel, hogy szép fokozatosan utóbbi párt egy elnyomó, korrupt, szélsőjobboldali mozgalommá alakította át magát, a demokratikus értékekre épített konzervativizmus helyett.

Az előadásom diái itt, vagy a fenti képre kattintva is elérhetőek.

Szerencsére sokan voltak:

The Role of Human Rights in EU-US bilateral Relations

Created a part of a report on the European Union’s external relations. This report aims to analyse the different dimensions and levels of EU-US relations, to survey the instruments the EU uses in this relation and to provide some recommendations for future EU actions. It provides an overview of the main similarities and differences between the EU and the US regarding human rights, and measures the influence of the EU on the state and practice of human rights in the United States. Likewise, it analyses how the United States may affect human rights in the EU and its Member States, notably in light of US policies that are strongly criticised by the EU from a human rights-based perspective. To conduct this analysis, we selected three case-studies: 1) capital punishment 2) data protection and surveillance programmes and 3) the problem of extraordinary rendition.

The report can be accessed here on by clicking on the image above.

New article – TTIP and Its Public Criticism: Anti-Globalist Populism Versus Valid Dangers



The provisions of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the major trade agreement between the EU and the US received serious criticism from the public, some NGOs and even some scholars. Disputes surrounding many of its special provisions got highly emotional, with extreme commentaries in the media. There is a high chance the conclusion of the deal will be blocked because of public opposition. This article tries to analyse four of the most important questions, namely the transparency of negotiations, the issue of investor-state dispute settlement, and the agreement’s effects on environment-sustainable development and regulatory issues/consumer standards. Based on the analysis, it concludes that even though TTIP may contain some serious pitfalls, there is a high chance it would not lead to the devastating results as is regularly portrayed, and most of the problematic points could be settled relatively easily.

You can access the article here or by clicking of the image above. 

Published a new article on populsim, human rights and the single European market in Hungary

clr

 

THE LINKS BETWEEN HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE SINGLE EUROPEAN MARKET: DISCRIMINATION AND SYSTEMIC INFRINGEMENT

ABSTRACT

The aim of this article is to prove that the legal system of an EU member state in which weakening of democratic rights and distortion of the constitutional system of checks and balances takes place also hurts the frameworks of the single market. The best example for this situation can be seen in Hungary nowadays. The connection between constitutional principles and single market regulations is not as obvious as it seems. Many would claim that multinational companies do not need basic rights to perform well. However, this is not true. Anti-democratic developments create a framework that not only results in institutional, legal and sociological changes, but also hurts free competition leading to a loss in profit. There is a great chance that a country rife with breaches of fundamental rights will, as a spill-over effect, also face a large number of single market regulation breaches. 

 

The article can be accessed by clicking here or on the image above.

Declaration on the upcoming referendum

 

Hungarian Academics’ declaration on the Hungarian referendum on the European asylum quota  

We, undersigned academics concerned over the future of our country and of Europe adopt the following declaration as a sign of protest:

The quota referendum initiated by the government is senseless, unconstitutional and inhuman.

The referendum is senseless because there is no European initiative for ‘forced resettlement.’ The possible European quota regulation would aim at sharing asylum seekers in proportion to the Member States’ capabilities, in contrast to the standing rules that put disproportionate burden on border states, including Hungary. Under a quota system, Hungary should receive not more but less asylum seekers than under the current Dublin regime. The quota referendum and the governmental campaign — that misinforms rather than informs voters — are inadequate to address pressing moral and political questions raised by asylum.

It is unconstitutional, because a referendum can concern questions that are within the powers of the Parliament. European norms are adopted not by the Hungarian Parliament, but by the European institutions that include Hungarian representatives. The fact that the question could be put to a referendum is itself a sign that formerly independent institutions are now under undue political influence. The initiative of the government is discrediting the institution of the referendum.

The referendum is inhuman because it aims at denying support to people who are seeking to save their lives. Helping fellow human beings is a basic norm of European as well as universal human culture, a fundamental tenet of religious teachings, something that we considered self-evident at better times of our history. Those years when we turned against this solidarity are now remembered as the darkest pages of our history. The initiative of the government and the surrounding hate campaign is not only an impediment to the European quest for a common solution, but is also a move to turn the Hungarian nation against its noble traditions.   As teachers and researchers, we cannot even tacitly provide support to this.

1. Ádám Zoltán
2. Ambrus Mónika
3. Antal Attila
4. Barát Erzsébet
5. Barna Ildikó
6. Bartha Ildikó
7. Bencze Mátyás
8. Bíró Judit
9. Borbély Viktor
10. Boreczky Ágnes
11. Boros Judit
12. Bozóki András
13. Braun Gabriella
14. Braunitzer Gábor
15. Czinderi Kristóf
16. Csáki Tibor
17. Csákó Mihály
18. Császár Ivett
19. Csereklye Bözse
20. Cserne Péter
21. Darvas Ágnes
22. Deák Dániel
23. Erdélyi Eszter
24. Feischmidt Margit
25. Fekete Mária
26. Fekete Mariann
27. Felkai Gábor
28. Fleck Gábor
29. Fleck Zoltán
30. Fodor László
31. Fokasz Nikosz
32. Forrai Réka
33. Fóti Péter
34.  Gecser Ottó
35.  Gedő Éva
36.  Gerő Márton
37.  Gregor Anikó
38.  Győrfi Tamás
39.  Háberman Zoltán
40.  Halmai Gábor
41.  Hammer Ferenc
42.  Heller Mária
43.  Horváth Ágnes
44.  Hungler Sára
45.  Huszár Ágnes
46.  Indries Krisztián
47.  Jon Fox
48.  Kállai Péter
49.  Kazai Viktor Zoltán
50.  Kende Gábor
51.  Kispéter Erika
52.  Kóczé Angéla
53.  Kollányi Zsófia
54.  Kondor Péter
55.  Kopper Ákos
56.  Kovács Ágnes
57.  Kovács Kriszta
58.  Könczöl Miklós

59. Körtvélyesi Zsolt

60.  Kürti Judit
61.  Laczkovich Miklós
62.  Laczó Ferenc
63.  Lakner Zoltán
64.  Láncos Petra Lea
65.  Láng Eszter
66.  Lengyel György
67.  Majtényi Balázs
68.  Majtényi László
69.  Máté András
70.  Mestyán Ádám
71.  Mészáros György
72.  Mészáros Márton
73.  Miklós Barbara
74.  Miklósi Zoltán
75.  Mink Júlia
76.  Misetics Bálint
77.  Nagy Alíz
78.  Nagy Boldizsár
79.  Nagy Péter Tibor
80.  Neményi Mária
81.  Németh Krisztina
82.  Neumann László
83.  Olay Csaba
84.  Orosz Éva
85.  Örkény Antal
86.  P.Tóth Tamás
87.  Padisák Judit
88.  Pál Eszter
89.  Pap András László
90.  Patakfalvi-Czirják Ágnes
91.  Peragovics Tamás Ferenc
92.  Putnoky Péter
93.  Rafael Pablo Labanino
94.  Ropolyi László
95.  Salát Orsolya
96.  Schweitzer András
97.  Schweitzer Gábor
98.  Seláf Levente
99.  Selmeczi Anna
100.  Semjén András
101. Síklaki István
102. Sik Domonkos
103. Simonovits Bori
104. Sólyom Péter
105. Somody Bernadette
106. Susánszky Pál
107. Sz. Kristóf Ildikó
108. Szuhay Péter
109. Szalai András
110. Szalai Júlia
111. Szántó Diana
112. Szegedy-Maszák Zoltán
113. Szente Zoltán
114. Szigeti Péter
115. Szőllősi Gergely
116. Szűcs Zoltán Gábor
117. Szűcs-Zágoni Bella
118. Takács Erzsébet
119. Takács Judit
120. Tesfay Sába
121. Tóth Gábor Attila
122. Tóth István János
123. Tóth Zita Veronika
124. Törzs Edit
125. Unger Anna
126. Vadkerti Ildikó
127. Vajda Júlia
128. Valuch Tibor
129. Váradi Mónika Mária
130. Varju Márton
131. Vásárhelyi Mária
132. Végh Zsuzsanna
133. Vidra Zsuzsanna
134. Virág Tünde
135. Vokó Zoltán
136. Vörös Imre
137. Vörös Zoltán
138. Ziegler Dezső Tamás
139. Zsadányi Edit
140. Zsigó Frank Thomas
141. Zsugyó Virág

Two new judgments of the CJEU

 Case C‑165/14 Alfredo Rendón Marín v Administración del Estado

Article 21 TFEU and Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC must be interpreted as precluding national legislation which requires a third-country national to be automatically refused the grant of a residence permit on the sole ground that he has a criminal record where he is the parent of a minor child who is a Union citizen and a national of a Member State other than the host Member State and who is his dependant and resides with him in the host Member State.

Article 20 TFEU must be interpreted as precluding the same national legislation which requires a third-country national who is a parent of minor children who are Union citizens in his sole care to be automatically refused the grant of a residence permit on the sole ground that he has a criminal record, where that refusal has the consequence of requiring those children to leave the territory of the European Union.

Case C‑304/14

Article 20 TFEU must be interpreted as precluding legislation of a Member State which requires a third-country national who has been convicted of a criminal offence to be expelled from the territory of that Member State to a third country notwithstanding the fact that that national is the primary carer of a young child who is a national of that Member State, in which he has been residing since birth without having exercised his right of freedom of movement, when the expulsion of the person concerned would require the child to leave the territory of the European Union, thereby depriving him of the genuine enjoyment of the substance of his rights as a Union citizen. However, in exceptional circumstances a Member State may adopt an expulsion measure provided that it is founded on the personal conduct of that third-country national, which must constitute a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat adversely affecting one of the fundamental interests of the society of that Member State, and that it is based on consideration of the various interests involved, matters which are for the national court to determine.

What Happens After Brexit? Some Thoughts

How should life be after Brexit? Even though the academic and intellectual communities, just like the public, got highly emotional after the Brexit referendum, we assume that it can serve as the start of something new and functioning both for the UK and the EU. Here are some pointers for the future already visible.

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Wrote an article about Brexit for Social Europe Journal together with Anna Unger. The article can be accessed here or by clicking on the image above.