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The German Parliament and EU affairs

01-07-2020

The Federal Republic of Germany has a parliamentary system consisting of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, established in 1949. The Bundestag is the main legislative body, which determines all laws at federal level. It does so with the participation of a ‘second chamber’, the Bundesrat, which represents the 16 constituent states (Bundesländer). Competencies are shared between the Federation and the Länder, with the Länder having the right to legislate insofar as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) does not ...

The Federal Republic of Germany has a parliamentary system consisting of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, established in 1949. The Bundestag is the main legislative body, which determines all laws at federal level. It does so with the participation of a ‘second chamber’, the Bundesrat, which represents the 16 constituent states (Bundesländer). Competencies are shared between the Federation and the Länder, with the Länder having the right to legislate insofar as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) does not confer legislative power on the Federation. Federal law takes precedence over Länder law. Areas of exclusive federal legislation, such as foreign policy, defence and trade, are governed at federal level. In areas of concurrent legislation, the Länder can adopt legislation as long as there is no existing federal legislation. Over time, federal legislation has been expanding. Only in some areas, for example in education, culture, police and administrative law, have the Länder retained their exclusive legislative powers. This briefing is part of an EPRS series on national parliaments and EU affairs. It aims to provide an overview of the way the national parliaments of EU Member States are structured and how they process, scrutinise and engage with EU legislation. It also provides information on relevant publications of the national parliaments.

US federal and state travel limits and quarantine measures

24-04-2020

Like many other countries around the world, the US federal government has taken measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, reflecting events in the European Union, the individual states and local authorities have taken additional measures to protect the health, safety, and welfare of citizens within their respective jurisdictions. Under the US federal system, in public health emergencies US states may impose quarantine and isolation measures. The differing emergency ...

Like many other countries around the world, the US federal government has taken measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, reflecting events in the European Union, the individual states and local authorities have taken additional measures to protect the health, safety, and welfare of citizens within their respective jurisdictions. Under the US federal system, in public health emergencies US states may impose quarantine and isolation measures. The differing emergency measures developed by the 50 states raise both practical issues for citizens wishing to cross state borders and legal questions as to the extent to which the states are entitled to limit constitutional freedoms. Mapping the various measures is meanwhile a complex business.

Legal Proceedings available to Individuals before the Highest Courts: A Comparative Law Perspective - Canada

06-10-2017

This study is part of a wider project seeking to investigate, from a comparative law perspective, judicial proceedings available to individuals before the highest courts of different states, and before certain international courts. The aim of this study is to examine the various judicial proceedings available to individuals in Canadian law, and in particular before the Supreme Court of Canada. To this end, the text is divided into five parts. The introduction provides an overview of Canadian constitutional ...

This study is part of a wider project seeking to investigate, from a comparative law perspective, judicial proceedings available to individuals before the highest courts of different states, and before certain international courts. The aim of this study is to examine the various judicial proceedings available to individuals in Canadian law, and in particular before the Supreme Court of Canada. To this end, the text is divided into five parts. The introduction provides an overview of Canadian constitutional history, which explains the coexistence of rights derived from several legal traditions. It then introduces the federal system, the origins of constitutional review, as well as the court structure (I). As Canada practises a ‘diffuse’ (or ‘decentralized’) constitutional review process, the second part deals with the different types of proceedings available to individuals in matters of constitutional justice before both administrative and judicial courts, while highlighting proceedings available before the Supreme Court of Canada (II). This is followed by an examination of the constitutional and legal sources of individual — and in some cases collective — rights (III), as well as the means developed by the judiciary, the legislative, and the executive branches to ensure the effective judicial protection of rights (IV). The conclusion assesses the effectiveness of proceedings available to individuals in matters of ‘constitutional justice’. Essentially, while Canadian citizens benefit from a wide range of rights and proceedings, access to the country’s Supreme Court is restricted due to the limited number of cases the Court chooses to hear every year. More generally, access to justice continues to pose real challenges in Canada. This is not due to judicial failings or a lack of sources of rights per se, but rather to lengthy judicial delays and the often enormous costs of proceedings.

Údar seachtarach

EPRS, Comparative Law

An evolutionary path for a European Monetary Fund? A comparative perspective.

15-05-2017

Eurozone reformers are looking to the United States and other federations as they seek to craft a more sustainable architecture for the Euro. This paper first extracts lessons about mechanisms of inter-regional insurance and redistribution, and then turns attention to related debates about moral hazard and fiscal discipline. In the United States, inter-regional fiscal stabilization is achieved through a progressive income tax. Contrary to common wisdom, federal direct expenditures and grants are ...

Eurozone reformers are looking to the United States and other federations as they seek to craft a more sustainable architecture for the Euro. This paper first extracts lessons about mechanisms of inter-regional insurance and redistribution, and then turns attention to related debates about moral hazard and fiscal discipline. In the United States, inter-regional fiscal stabilization is achieved through a progressive income tax. Contrary to common wisdom, federal direct expenditures and grants are targeted neither to states suffering from short-term asymmetric negative shocks nor to relatively poor states in the long term. Fiscal policies of state and local governments are highly pro-cyclical, and partially undermine the stabilizing role of the system of federal taxes and transfers. Thus the U.S. experience suggests a number of design challenges facing any future Eurozone stabilization mechanism. The paper also places proposals for even stronger top-down surveillance and correction mechanisms of Eurozone member states’ fiscal policies in comparative perspective, arguing that such powers are not found in unions of sovereigns like the United States, Canada, and Switzerland. Moreover, there are reasons for concern about the credibility of such efforts in the Eurozone as currently structured. Unless political will can be found for extraordinary political and fiscal centralization, reformers should assume that member states will continue as sovereigns, and hence will be disciplined (or not) by voters and credit markets rather than European regulators. Thus it might be useful to consider policies that would make the “no-bail out clause” credible.

Údar seachtarach

Jonathan A. Rodden, Stanford University

The role of constitutional courts in multi-level governance - United States of America: The Supreme Court

30-11-2016

This report looks at the Supreme Court of the United States, how it is organized and functions, the mechanisms by which cases reach the Court and how it treats treaties that have not been ratified by the United States government. The United States is a federated country. As such it has national governmental structures, which are outlined in its constitution, and state structures, which are outlined in the individual constitutions of each state. The United States Constitution is the second such document ...

This report looks at the Supreme Court of the United States, how it is organized and functions, the mechanisms by which cases reach the Court and how it treats treaties that have not been ratified by the United States government. The United States is a federated country. As such it has national governmental structures, which are outlined in its constitution, and state structures, which are outlined in the individual constitutions of each state. The United States Constitution is the second such document for the country, the first being the Articles of Confederation, which were in effect for the years 1781 to 1789. The Articles of Confederation had weak national structures and did not provide for a national executive or for any real national judiciary. These problems were addressed in the Constitution, which was drafted by the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and ratified by the states. The Constitution does not specify the structure of the federal judiciary that was to be adopted except for calling for the establishment of a Supreme Court and other inferior courts that Congress may establish. The Constitution does set out the areas of federal jurisdiction, and it also lists certain areas where the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction. The first federal congress established a system of lower federal courts that since 1789 have evolved into the current structure of district courts (trial-level courts), circuit courts of appeal (intermediate courts of appeal), and the Supreme Court (the court of final review). Over the past two centuries the procedures for these courts have also evolved, and Congress has whittled away at certain areas where the Supreme Court had exclusive original jurisdiction, and given that Court more control over the selection of cases that it may review on appeal. Because of the freedom that the Supreme Court has over its docket, it now renders full opinions on many fewer cases each year than it did forty years ago. The United States is also a common law jurisdiction. Many of the doctrines that govern federal jurisdiction and the practices of the Supreme Court have their origin in 'judge-made law'. In particular, the doctrine of judicial review is not mentioned in the text of the Constitution or the early judiciary acts, although history shows that it was not unfamiliar to the drafters of the Constitution. It is however, one of the most formable doctrines of the courts since it allows for the review of statutes to determine if they are compatible with the Constitution. The Supreme Court’s role in interpreting the United States Constitution and laws is paramount; however, due to the freedom granted to the Court to control most of its docket it only provides opinions in a selected few cases each year. This report was prepared by one of the speakers at a forum on 'The role of constitutional courts in multi-level governance', organised by the Comparative Law Library Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service on 18 November 2016.

Nigeria: Political situation

28-01-2016

Following general elections in March 2015, Nigeria experienced its first democratic handover of power. Unlike other elections since the 1999 democratic transition, these elections ran unmarred by suspicions of vote rigging and widespread electoral violence. The elected president, Muhammadu Buhari, won with a promise to crack down on endemic corruption.

Following general elections in March 2015, Nigeria experienced its first democratic handover of power. Unlike other elections since the 1999 democratic transition, these elections ran unmarred by suspicions of vote rigging and widespread electoral violence. The elected president, Muhammadu Buhari, won with a promise to crack down on endemic corruption.

Russia's constitutional structure: Federal in form, unitary in function

20-10-2015

Constitutionally, Russia is a federation, as was the Soviet Union before it – a natural choice for such a large and heterogeneous country. The 85 federated states which make up the country (referred to as 'subjects of the Russian Federation', 'federal subjects' or 'regions') enjoy wide-ranging powers. At federal level they are represented by the upper house of parliament (Council of the Federation), giving them direct influence over federal law-making, at least on paper. Russia's federal system faces ...

Constitutionally, Russia is a federation, as was the Soviet Union before it – a natural choice for such a large and heterogeneous country. The 85 federated states which make up the country (referred to as 'subjects of the Russian Federation', 'federal subjects' or 'regions') enjoy wide-ranging powers. At federal level they are represented by the upper house of parliament (Council of the Federation), giving them direct influence over federal law-making, at least on paper. Russia's federal system faces numerous challenges. Of these, the most serious is the threat of separatism, particularly in the Northern Caucasus. Not only do Chechnya and its neighbours face high (though diminishing) levels of violence; they also suffer from severe poverty. There are huge economic and social disparities between, on the one hand, impoverished regions such as these, and on the other, Siberia, with its oil and gas wealth. In some regions, economic problems are compounded by financing difficulties, with heavy dependence on federal subsidies and rising, though still relatively low, regional debt. Although the constitution enshrines regional autonomy, Vladimir Putin's rule has seen a growing concentration of power in his hands. Legislative reforms, together with the dominance of his United Russia Party in regional parliaments and executives, severely constrain their capacity to pursue independent policies. Like the Soviet Union before it, Russia thus functions as a unitary state, despite its constitutional status as a federation.

Federal States and International Organisations : A Short Comparison of their Amending Rules with the European Union

13-12-2011

This comparative note looks at the legal provisions ruling the amendment of the founding documents of federal states and international organisations and compares them to Art. 48 of the Treaty on European Union. The European Union is the only political organisation requiring a double unanimous decision, firstly when signing a revising treaty and, secondly, when ratifying it in the Member States. The new rules proposed for the entry into force of the European Stability Mechanism treaty indicate that ...

This comparative note looks at the legal provisions ruling the amendment of the founding documents of federal states and international organisations and compares them to Art. 48 of the Treaty on European Union. The European Union is the only political organisation requiring a double unanimous decision, firstly when signing a revising treaty and, secondly, when ratifying it in the Member States. The new rules proposed for the entry into force of the European Stability Mechanism treaty indicate that EU leaders, at least in selected policy fields, are in the process of changing their views on the usefulness of the "mutual agreement" rule.

Attribution of Powers and Dispute Resolution in Selected Federal Systems

01-10-2002

The study is a resource text for Members of the EP Delegation to the European Convention and other participants and observers of the Convention and its Working Groups. It provides a succinct comparative description and evaluation of the attribution of powers and the resolution of disputes in four selected federal systems (USA, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium), with some short comments on the European Union's own system of multi-level governance.

The study is a resource text for Members of the EP Delegation to the European Convention and other participants and observers of the Convention and its Working Groups. It provides a succinct comparative description and evaluation of the attribution of powers and the resolution of disputes in four selected federal systems (USA, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium), with some short comments on the European Union's own system of multi-level governance.

Imeachtaí atá ar na bacáin

28-01-2021
Consequences and lessons from COVID-19 crisis for people in residential institutions
Éisteacht -
EMPL LIBE
28-01-2021
Public Hearing "Mind the gap: For equal access to cancer medicines and treatments"
Éisteacht -
BECA
01-02-2021
Eighth meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol, 1-2 February
Imeacht eile -
LIBE

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