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)

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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

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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.

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.

 

 

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.”

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.

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!

 

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.

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.

Gave two special lectures for our students

In the first lecture I talked about Hungary’s  illiberal turn and especially about the transformation of the domestic free market into a less competitive, centrally governed market in which state capture and oligarchs dominate. I used examples from Hungarian history to show such actions have historical tradition in the country, and I explained why there is a conflict between EU law and government policies. You find the slides of the lecture here.

hangya

Second, we watched the movie Sin nombre, and after watching it I gave a small presentation (in Hungarian) about US and Central American gangs, and especially about Mara Salvatrucha. Since following gang/maffia related conflicts in the US is one of my hobbies, I enjoyed talking about them a lot, even though this is not srrictly related to my scientific work . You can download the slides here.

sn

Fidesz, fasizmus, szélsőjobb / The governing party (Fidesz), fascism, far right politics

A fenti témáról egyrészt megjelent egy írásom a Magyar Narancsban, másrészt Kovács M. Máriával és Friderikusz Sándorral beszélgettünk az ATV-n. Alább elérhető mindkettő:

I published an article in the weekly newspaper Magyar Narancs on the connection between far right ideology and the present government, and also attended a TV interview with Maria M. Kovacs from Central European University on the same topic (both were held/written in Hungarian). 

Web

 

Balázs Majtényi on the FRAME blog: Particularism Strikes Back: National Identity versus Human Rights in the Hungarian Fundamental Law

Hungarian parliament_Flickr_artorusrex_small

“Since 2010, the Hungarian government has increasingly committed itself to the majoritarian conception of democracy, meaning that nobody and nothing, not even independent international or state and civil institutions, can stand in the way of the will of the majority serving national interests. In this article I will analyse the constitutional background of the political turn in Hungary.”

You find the original blog post here

Started to work in the FRAME FP7 project

frame
FRAME is a large-scale, collaborative research project funded under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) coordinated by the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and conducted by 19 research institutes from around the world. Our research focuses on the contribution of the EU’s internal and external policies to the promotion of human rights worldwide.

Our job will be to create a report on US-EU relations in the field of human rights. The website of the project can be reached here.

Report of CoE on Hungary

An excellent report on Hungary was published recently by CoE. The report can be reached here. It focuses on three topics: 1) Media freedom 2) Fight against intollerance and discrimination 3) Human rights of migrants and refugees

The contents reach a wide range of topics, some of the most important problems we face day-by-day. Pls find below the content of the work.

Summary

Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
1 Media freedom ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 9
1.1 Hungary’s media legislation and the right to freedom of expression ………………………………………………9
1.1.1 Media content regulation…………………………………………………………………………………………………….9
1.1.2 Imposition of sanctions on the media………………………………………………………………………………….10
1.1.3 Protection of journalists’ sources………………………………………………………………………………………..11
1.1.4 Registration requirements …………………………………………………………………………………………………12
1.1.5 Problems relating to the independence of media regulatory bodies ………………………………………12
1.1.6 Conclusions and recommendations…………………………………………………………………………………….13
1.2 Threats to media pluralism………………………………………………………………………………………………………14
1.2.1 Advertising market……………………………………………………………………………………………………………14
1.2.2 Tax on advertising …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….15
1.2.3 Political party advertising …………………………………………………………………………………………………..15
1.2.4 Conclusions and recommendations…………………………………………………………………………………….16
1.3 The need to decriminalise defamation………………………………………………………………………………………16
1.3.1 Conclusions and recommendations…………………………………………………………………………………….17

2 The fight against intolerance and discrimination ……………………………………………………………………….. 18
2.1 The rise of racism and intolerance in Hungary ……………………………………………………………………………18
2.1.1 Anti-Gypsyism…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..18
2.1.2 Antisemitism…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….19
2.1.3 Xenophobia ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..19
2.1.4 Extremist organisations……………………………………………………………………………………………………..20
2.1.5 The response of the Hungarian authorities…………………………………………………………………………..21
2.1.6 Conclusions and recommendations…………………………………………………………………………………….23
2.2 The need to fight against Discrimination……………………………………………………………………………………25
2.2.1 General context………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..25
2.2.1.1 Conclusion and recommendations ………………………………………………………………………………….25
2.2.2 Discrimination against Roma………………………………………………………………………………………………25
2.2.2.1 Conclusions and recommendations ……………………………………………………………………………………..27
2.2.3 Discrimination against persons with disabilities ……………………………………………………………………28
2.2.3.1 Conclusions and recommendations ……………………………………………………………………………………..30
2.2.4 Discrimination against LGBTI persons………………………………………………………………………………….32
2.2.4.1 Conclusions and recommendations ……………………………………………………………………………………..33
2.2.5 Discrimination on grounds of socio-economic status …………………………………………………………….33
2.2.5.1 Conclusions and recommendations ……………………………………………………………………………………..353
3 Human rights of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees …………………………………………………………. 36
3.1 Detention of Asylum seekers……………………………………………………………………………………………………36
3.1.1 Shortcomings of the current detention regime …………………………………………………………………….37
3.1.2 Vulnerable asylum seekers…………………………………………………………………………………………………38
3.1.3 Conclusions and recommendations…………………………………………………………………………………….38
3.2 Integration of refugees and other beneficiaries of international protection…………………………………..40
3.2.1 Integration framework ………………………………………………………………………………………………………40
3.2.2 Family reunification…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..40
3.2.3 Conclusions and recommendations…………………………………………………………………………………….41
3.3 Statelessness …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………42
3.3.1 Conclusions and recommendations…………………………………………………………………………………….43

How to apply the Charter? Åklagaren v Hans Åkerberg Fransson

Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 26 February 2013 (request for a preliminary ruling from the Haparanda tingsrätt – Sweden) – Åklagaren v Hans Åkerberg Fransson
(Case C-617/10)

(Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union – Field of application – Article 51 – Implementation of European Union law – Punishment of conduct prejudicial to own resources of the European Union – Article 50 – Ne bis in idem principle – National system involving two separate sets of proceedings, administrative and criminal, to punish the same wrongful conduct – Compatibility)

 

Request for a preliminary ruling – Haparanda tingsrätt – Interpretation of Article 6 TEU and Article 50 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union – National case-law requiring a clear basis in the European Convention on Human Rights or the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights in order to disapply provisions of national law liable to be contrary to the ne bis in idem principle – National legislation under which the same conduct contrary to tax law may be punished both administratively by a tax surcharge and criminally by a term of imprisonment – Compatibility with the ne bis in idem principle of a national system involving two separate sets of proceedings to punish the same wrongful conduct

Operative part of the judgment

1.    The ne bis in idem principle laid down in Article 50 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union does not preclude a Member State from imposing successively, for the same acts of non-compliance with declaration obligations in the field of value added tax, a tax penalty and a criminal penalty in so far as the first penalty is not criminal in nature, a matter which is for the national court to determine.

2.    European Union law does not govern the relations between the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed in Rome on 4 November 1950, and the legal systems of the Member States, nor does it determine the conclusions to be drawn by a national court in the event of conflict between the rights guaranteed by that convention and a rule of national law.

European Union law precludes a judicial practice which makes the obligation for a national court to disapply any provision contrary to a fundamental right guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union conditional upon that infringement being clear from the text of the Charter or the case-law relating to it, since it withholds from the national court the power to assess fully, with, as the case may be, the cooperation of the Court of Justice of the European Union, whether that provision is compatible with the Charter.

A highly interesting judgment…

The General Court annuls the listing of a university as an entity subject to restrictive measures against Iran

The General Court, however, suspends the effects of the annulment for a period of two months in order to allow the Council the opportunity to correct the irregularities identified

Sharif University of Technology (SUT) is an institution of higher education and research located in Tehran, Iran. Founded in 1966, it specialises in technology, engineering and physical sciences. The Council adopted restrictive measures (freezing of funds) against SUT for the following reasons: ‘Sharif University of Technology … is assisting designated entities to violate the provisions of UN and EU sanctions on Iran and is providing support to Iran’s proliferation sensitive nuclear activities. As of late 2011 SUT had provided laboratories for use by UN-designated Iranian nuclear entity Kalaye Electric Company (KEC) and EU‑designated Iran Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA)’.[1] SUT claims that its listing should be annulled.

In today’s judgment, the General Court upholds the action for annulment.[2]

The General Court considers that the Council committed a manifest error of assessment and failed to discharge the burden of proof which rests on it. In that regard, the General Court states that a number of documents justifying SUT’s listing were sent to it only after the expiry of the period allowed for bringing proceedings. Further, the General Court finds that the documents sent by the Council contain no information or material which adds anything to the content of the contested acts (the redacted passages in some of those documents not concerning SUT). Moreover, while the Council, on its own admission, took into account other information to be found in a separate confidential document, the General Court observes that the Member State which proposed the listing and supplied that information is opposed to its disclosure, either wholly or in part.

That being the case, the Court holds that the Council finds itself unable to provide additional information beyond that already known to SUT and that the Council has provided no explanation of its inability to disclose the confidential information. The reasons stated by the Council in the contested acts (the only material on which the General Court can base its decision) contain no evidence capable of supporting the Council’s claims: they prove neither that SUT made available laboratories to KEC and TESA nor that those laboratories could be of any value to them for their nuclear activities. Lastly, there is nothing to support the claims that SUT assisted the entities KEC and TESA to violate the restrictive measures adopted against Iran, or provided direct support to Iranian nuclear activities.

The General Court however limits the effects of its judgment for a period of two months from the date of delivery. The General Court considers that SUT’s interest in ensuring that its listing should be annulled immediately must be weighed against the objective of general interest pursued by the European Union’s policy in relation to restrictive measures. An immediate annulment would allow SUT instantly to collect the frozen funds. A further listing of SUT cannot automatically be ruled out, since the Council has the possibility of again listing the applicant on the basis of reasons which are supported to the requisite legal standard. The General Court considers therefore that it is necessary to give the Council a period of two months to enable it to correct the irregularities identified, inter alia by providing sufficient evidence to support the reasons for SUT’s listing.

NOTE: An appeal, limited to points of law only, may be brought before the Court of Justice against the decision of the General Court within two months of notification of the decision.

NOTE: An action for annulment seeks the annulment of acts of the institutions of the European Union that are contrary to European Union law. The Member States, the European institutions and individuals may, under certain conditions, bring an action for annulment before the Court of Justice or the General Court. If the action is well founded, the act is annulled. The institution concerned must fill any legal vacuum created by the annulment of the act.

[1]Council Decision 2012/829/CFSP of 21 December 2012, amending Decision 2010/413/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Iran (OJ 2012 L 356, p. 71) and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1264/2012 of 21 December 2012 implementing Regulation (EU) No 267/2012 concerning restrictive measures against Iran(OJ 2012 L 356, p. 55).

[2] By judgments of the same date, the General Court upholds the actions for annulment brought by an Iranian businessman (Mr Babak Zanjani, Case T-155/13) and two legal persons (Sorinet Commercial Trust Bankers and National Iranian Tankers Company, respectively Cases T-157/13 and T-565/12). As in the SUT case, the General Court considers that the Council committed a manifest error of assessment and failed to discharge the burden of proof which rests on it. In those three cases, the General Court maintains the effects of the annulled acts until the date of expiry of the period for bringing an appeal or, if an appeal has been brought, until the dismissal of the appeal.

Charter of fundamental rights – recent case law

 Found two new important cases on the application of the EU Charter on Fundamental rights.


1) The CJEU’s Ruling in AMS and the Horizontal Effect of the Charter – taken from Oxford Human rights HUB
ohr

“In its judgment in AMS (15 January 2014), the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on whether the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union can apply in a dispute between private parties, holding that the Charter is applicable ‘in all situations governed by European Union law’.”

Available here or by clicking on the image above.

2) The Austrian Constitutional Court’s judgement on the Charter

Available here.

There’s Nothing New About the New Racism – Anna Holmes in the Time

Pls find below an article by Anna Holmes originally published in the Time (here), I liked it a lot.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

A new book by ‘Tiger Mom’ Amy Chua claims to explain why some groups fail and others succeed. We’ve heard this all before.
Let’s be clear, there’s nothing “new” about “the new racism,” the term Suketu Mehta uses to characterize the arguments of Amy Chua and Jed Rubetiger-mom-triple-packagenfeld in reviewing their new book, “The Triple Package.” Chua and Rubenfeld’s ahistorical and condescending-sounding treatise, which seems primed to satisfy the appetites of salivating marketing departments and morning show producers, argues that three traits — a superiority complex, insecurity, and impulse control — account for why immigrant groups like Asians and Indians thrive in America. Mehta argues that this constitutes a “new racism,” where some groups are praised in order to denigrate others — who apparently deserve to fail because they lack these traits.
But isn’t this just the same old racism — barely wearing new clothes? Racism has always come in a variety of costumes and cloaks. Put another way: bigotry, intolerance, discrimination and violence can be as covert as they are overt; can owe a debt as much to the seemingly reasonable intellects of academies and legislatures as the Neanderthal ranting of the ugliest segregationists and supremacists.

The umbrella term for these scourges, “racism,” is the physical and psychological genocide of generations of stolen people, yes, but it is also the root of modern-day drug policy and the for-profit, institutionalization of millions of black and brown men. It is the privileging of the needs of luxury real estate developers over a commitment to fair, safe, affordable housing. It is a member of Congress shouting “You lie.” And it is the wink-wink of the modern-day Republican party insisting that “yes, you built that.”

Racism is not, nor has it ever been, “new” — it is what this country was built on. It is as American as apple pie.
To be fair, Suketu Mehta says as much, writing that Chua and Rubenfeld’s “The Triple Package” contains within it ideas and conclusions about American achievement that have long been dressed up in other, perhaps more explicitly distasteful — genetic, religious, economic — disguises.

But even calling this slightly new shade, this culture-based argument for achievement, this soft bigotry of the myth of group Exceptionalism, “new” obscures the realities of injustice in America. It assigns to publicity-hungry individuals and pseudoscientists responsibility for a narrow-mindedness that is, in fact, long-established and structural — as political as it is personal. It suggests that there is an “old” racism we have somehow moved beyond. As the Los Angeles Times’ Ellen D. Wu says of the model minority myth, it “both fascinates and upsets precisely because it offers an unambiguous yet inaccurate blueprint for solving the nation’s most pressing issues.”

So let’s not call it “new.” Let’s acknowledge that even if, as Mehta says, the United States thinks it has moved beyond race, many Americans refuse to believe that “race” was ever an issue to move beyond in the first place. Let’s not only recognize but thoroughly explore this nation’s longstanding, stubborn and self-deluding need to believe that success is based solely — or mostly — on merit, not the more complex, messy stew of opportunity, visibility, class, physical privilege, social capital, psychological stamina, and yes, race, gender, and sexual orientation.

“The Triple Package” is not evidence of a “new racism.” It’s the same old garbage, in a slightly different, Ivy League-endorsed disguise.

Gave a presentation for the “Occupy the University (Hallgatói Hálózat)” students (in Hungarian)

The students continously protest against the present anti-democratic government. I recapped the present situation of Hungary with especial regard to the provisions of the European Union and the possible protection provided by the CoE.

A short Hungarian language summary can be found here.

A nice commentary on Hungary’s unconstitutional constitution available on the website of Princeton University

Opinion on the Fundamental Law of Hungary

Authors: 

Zoltán Fleck, Gábor Gadó, Gábor Halmai, Szabolcs Hegyi, Gábor
Juhász, János Kis, Zsolt Körtvélyesi, Balázs Majtényi, Gábor Attila
Tóth,

Edited by:

Professor Andrew Arato, New School for Social Research, New York,
Professor Gábor Halmai, Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem,
Budapest,
Professor János Kis, Central European University, Budapest

Pls find the material here.

New Article on LSE EUROPP – 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

Twelve countries have joined the EU since 2004, with Croatia’s accession expected in 2013. Tamas Dezso Czigler argues that while the Eurozone’s economic problems are currently dominating attention, the EU is also facing a growing crisis in the new accession countries, with a number of Eastern European states exhibiting anti-democratic tendencies. The article warns that problems in Eastern Europe also threaten to derail wider reform processes within the EU.

The article can be found here.

Criminal responsibility age limit now 12 in Hungary

The Hungarian government changed the age limit for criminal prosecution, which was set to 12 years in certain cases. Another demagogue populistic measure without the intent of solving the real problems of the society. Beside homicide and some similar acts, robbery and despoliation will be punished earlier as well:

http://www.politics.hu/20120627/justice-ministry-rejects-unicef-criticism-of-new-criminal-code-provisions-on-youthful-offenders/

And for the age limit of certain countries see

http://www.pmg.org.za/docs/2003/appendices/030310minimumage.htm

…and the third piece on LSE EUROPP – Why the system of EU is inadequate in protecting human rights…

Pls find my latest piece on LSE EUROPP

Hungary is sleepwalking into an authoritarian state. But the European Union is limited in the pressure it is able to exert.

Hungary is a member of the European Union (EU), but the country is sleepwalking into an authoritarian state, argueTamas Dezso Czigler and Izolda Takacs. In their third post on Hungary’s government, they explore measures that the EU could take in order to sanction the country, some which may be more effective than others.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2012/05/21/hungary-eu-role/#more-3018

Second part of the series on London School of Economics – European Politics and Policy (EUROPP) blog

Pls find the second article of the series on London School of Economics – European Politics and Policy (EUROPP) blog  about the recent changes in Hungary.

Hungary is a member of the European Union, but the country is sleepwalking into an authoritarian state, argue Tamas Dezo Czigler and Izolda Takacs. In their second of three articles for EUROPP, they argue that the new governing coalition has overhauled the country’s electoral and judicial system, violated the independence of the Hungarian central bank and invaded citizens’ private lives.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2012/05/17/hungary-authoritarian-2/#more-2947

Article on OpenDemocracy

Pls find my latest article on Open Democracy about the connections between Euro-scepticism, extremism and history in the UK and in Hungary:

If we want to develop effective co-operation within and among the member states of the EU, history should be kept at a distance. Living in the past is not feasible, and this is equally true for Euro-scepticism, the application of human rights as well as the fight against racism and extremism…

In our opinion, the future of a state cannot be based solely on emotional foundations. For economic problems, economic measures must take centre stage. Exaggerated emotions should be consigned to where they belong: to museums.

http://www.opendemocracy.net/tamas-dezso-czigler-izolda-takacs/myths-of-history-euro-scepticism-and-fundamental-rights#_ednref

Article on London School of Economics – European Politics and Policy (EUROPP) blog

Pls find my latest article on London School of Economics – European Politics and Policy (EUROPP) blog  about the recent changes in Hungary.

“Has Hungary become an authoritarian state? In their first of three articles on the Hungarian government, Tamas Dezso Czigler and Izolda Takacs argue that the country has become a distorted democracy on the brink of autocracy. Worryingly, the vast majority of Hungarians do not seem to be alarmed by these.” 

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2012/05/15/hungary-distorted-democracy/

Jog és realitás [Law and reality] – Élet és irodalom [Life and literature] May 6, 2012

Please find my latest article Jog és realitás [Law and reality]  in the Hungarian weekly journal Élet és irodalom  [Life and literature] .  I discussed the connection between EU fundamental rights policy and the new Hungarian regime (subscription required to read it)…

http://www.es.hu/kereses/szerzo/Czigler%20Dezs%C5%91%20Tam%C3%A1s

New article on nationalism and the single European market

Pls find my latest article “Protectionism – The Side Effect of Hungarian Nationalism” on Social Europe Journal (Part of Guardian Comment Network)

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…  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… 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.

http://www.social-europe.eu/2012/04/protectionism-the-side-effect-of-hungarian-nationalism/