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Rule of law [What Think Tanks are thinking]

15-11-2019

The European Union is a community of law, with the rule of law being a basic value since the Union's inception. The President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has confirmed a strong commitment to uphold the rule of law, which remains a shared responsibility for all EU institutions and all Member States. However, developments in several EU Member States – for example Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Malta – have raised concerns over how far this commitment is actualy being ...

The European Union is a community of law, with the rule of law being a basic value since the Union's inception. The President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has confirmed a strong commitment to uphold the rule of law, which remains a shared responsibility for all EU institutions and all Member States. However, developments in several EU Member States – for example Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Malta – have raised concerns over how far this commitment is actualy being observed in practice, sparking a lively debate across the EU and action in the EU institutions themselves. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on the rule of law debate.

La libertà di espressione, una prospettiva di diritto comparato - Unione europea

13-11-2019

Il presente studio fa parte di un progetto più ampio il cui scopo è quello di analizzare, nella prospettiva del diritto comparato, la libertà di espressione in diversi ordinamenti giuridici. Le pagine descrivono, in relazione all'Unione europea e in relazione all'oggetto dello studio, la legislazione in vigore, la giurisprudenza più significativa e il concetto di libertà di espressione con i suoi limiti attuali e futuri, per concludersi con alcune considerazioni riguardo a possibili soluzioni alle ...

Il presente studio fa parte di un progetto più ampio il cui scopo è quello di analizzare, nella prospettiva del diritto comparato, la libertà di espressione in diversi ordinamenti giuridici. Le pagine descrivono, in relazione all'Unione europea e in relazione all'oggetto dello studio, la legislazione in vigore, la giurisprudenza più significativa e il concetto di libertà di espressione con i suoi limiti attuali e futuri, per concludersi con alcune considerazioni riguardo a possibili soluzioni alle sfide future. Verranno in particolare analizzate le varie forme in cui si articola la libertà di espressione (libertà di opinione, libertà di parola, libertà di comunicare o ricevere informazioni o idee), mettendo in luce la necessità di individuare, da parte delle istituzioni dell’Unione europea, nuove forme di tutela, nel contemperamento dei diversi interessi coinvolti, anche alla luce della rapida evoluzione tecnologica che ha interessato i mezzi di comunicazione e del sempre più diffuso utilizzo dei social media.

Külső szerző

Questo studio è stato scritto dal Prof. Dr. Vincenzo Salvatore, Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, Varese (Italia), su richiesta della Unità Biblioteca di diritto comparato, Direzione generale dei Servizi di ricerca parlamentare (DG EPRS), Segretariato generale del Parlamento europeo.

Action for annulment of an EU act

08-11-2019

An action for annulment is a legal procedure before the Court of Justice that guarantees the conformity of EU legislative acts, regulatory acts and individual acts with the superior rules of the EU legal order. An action can be brought within two months of the publication or notification of the contested measure. Applicants are divided into three categories: privileged, semi-privileged and non-privileged. Privileged applicants – the Member States, Parliament, Commission and Council – may bring an ...

An action for annulment is a legal procedure before the Court of Justice that guarantees the conformity of EU legislative acts, regulatory acts and individual acts with the superior rules of the EU legal order. An action can be brought within two months of the publication or notification of the contested measure. Applicants are divided into three categories: privileged, semi-privileged and non-privileged. Privileged applicants – the Member States, Parliament, Commission and Council – may bring an action for annulment purely in the interests of legality, without proving any particular interest. Semi-privileged applicants – comprising the European Committee of the Regions, the European Central Bank and the European Court of Auditors – may bring an action for annulment only to protect their own prerogatives. Finally, non-privileged applicants, comprising all natural and legal persons, including regional or local governments, may bring an action for annulment only if they prove that the contested act infringes upon their interests. More specifically, they may bring an action against an act addressed to them, or – if it is not addressed to them – if it is of direct and individual concern to them, as well as against a regulatory act that is of direct concern to them and does not entail implementing measures. The Treaty provides five grounds for annulment, i.e. reasons for which the Court may declare an EU act to be null and void. These are lack of competence; infringement of an essential procedural requirement; infringement of the Treaties; infringement of a rule relating to the application of the Treaties; and, finally, misuse of powers. If the Court finds the action well founded, it declares the nullity of the contested act, which, in principle, is considered null from the moment of its adoption. However, the Court may decide that some effects of the contested act should, nonetheless, remain in force in the interests of protecting legitimate interests and legal security.

Protecting the rule of law in the EU: Existing mechanisms and possible improvements

06-11-2019

Under the rule of law, governmental powers are limited by law and may be exercised only on the basis of law. An independent judiciary is indispensable to guaranteeing this state of affairs, and appropriate procedures, including legal remedies, must be in place to guarantee that individuals can protect their rights and trigger judicial review of governmental action. The rule of law has been an enduring basic value of the European Union from its inception, and the principles of the rule of law have ...

Under the rule of law, governmental powers are limited by law and may be exercised only on the basis of law. An independent judiciary is indispensable to guaranteeing this state of affairs, and appropriate procedures, including legal remedies, must be in place to guarantee that individuals can protect their rights and trigger judicial review of governmental action. The rule of law has been an enduring basic value of the European Union from its inception, and the principles of the rule of law have been enshrined in the case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The EU's very design is based on a shared responsibility for upholding and enforcing EU law, which is the joint task of the ECJ and national courts. The rule of law within the Member States, at least in areas covered by EU law, is therefore indispensable for the proper functioning of the Union and its legal system. Furthermore, the rule of law is one of the EU's fundamental values, enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, which must be respected by the Member States, including in areas not covered by EU law. Should an EU Member State be suspected of breaching the rule of law, a number of procedures are available to verify this and, if needed, remedy the situation. First of all, there are three 'soft' mechanisms, which do not give rise to legally binding results, yet nevertheless have a certain political resonance and can be seen as a preparatory step towards legal action. These include the transitional 'special cooperation and verification mechanism' (included in the Act of Accession for Bulgaria and Romania), the Commission's rule of law framework, and the Council's annual dialogues on the rule of law. Apart from these 'soft' mechanisms, three legal procedures are also available which, if concluded, can produce legally binding results. First of all, infringement proceedings can be brought by the Commission if the alleged breach could also amount to the violation of a specific rule of EU law. Secondly, national courts from a Member State in which the rule of law is breached may refer preliminary questions to the ECJ, seeking guidance on the interpretation of EU law with a view to assessing the compatibility of national legislation. Finally, the breach of values procedure can be triggered, possibly leading to the suspension of a Member State's membership rights. This briefing has been produced at the request of a member of the European Committee of the Regions, in the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the Parliament and the Committee.

Global and regional trends

25-10-2019

The European Union’s key institutions held a joint annual conference on 14-15 October entitled ‘Challenges and Choices for Europe.’ The annual event was organised under the auspices of the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), which is a framework for cooperation between the administrations of the European Parliament, European Commission, Council of the European Union, European External Action Service and other bodies, to work together on medium- and long-term trends facing or relating ...

The European Union’s key institutions held a joint annual conference on 14-15 October entitled ‘Challenges and Choices for Europe.’ The annual event was organised under the auspices of the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), which is a framework for cooperation between the administrations of the European Parliament, European Commission, Council of the European Union, European External Action Service and other bodies, to work together on medium- and long-term trends facing or relating to the European Union.

European Union electoral law: Current situation and historical background

17-10-2019

The European Parliament did not always enjoy the powers and democratic legitimacy it does now. This is clear from a quick glance at how Parliament has evolved. Starting life as an Assembly – a name reminiscent of institutions linked to international diplomacy – with members simply appointed by national parliaments of Member States, it grew into an institution, the European Parliament, directly elected by citizens and now the only one representing EU citizens directly. This transformation has taken ...

The European Parliament did not always enjoy the powers and democratic legitimacy it does now. This is clear from a quick glance at how Parliament has evolved. Starting life as an Assembly – a name reminiscent of institutions linked to international diplomacy – with members simply appointed by national parliaments of Member States, it grew into an institution, the European Parliament, directly elected by citizens and now the only one representing EU citizens directly. This transformation has taken several decades. Despite Parliament's increased role, the current electoral rules remain only partly harmonised, to the extent that there is no uniform electoral process for all Member States. The current situation is that certain fundamental principles are enshrined in the 1976 Electoral Act, but many aspects are regulated by national law. This lack of a uniform electoral process also leads to differences in treatment between EU citizens depending on their country of origin and potentially deprives European elections of a truly European dimension. Several reforms of the EU electoral system have been attempted over the years, but not all have resulted in legislation. The introduction of a transnational constituency in particular is a perennially controversial issue. Some consider it a step towards the genuine 'Europeanisation' of elections, others believe that it could increase the distance between the public and elected representatives. While the co-existence of differing electoral rules under the aegis of common European principles is probably destined to last, the latest reform – adopted in 2018 – will bring in mechanisms designed to increase public participation in the EU political debate and make the appointment of one of the top EU leadership roles, president of the European Commission, more 'political', by means of the Spitzenkandidaten process.

Key issues in the European Council - State of play in October 2019

16-10-2019

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues. It analyses nine policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement to date and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues. It analyses nine policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement to date and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

Role of Advocates General at the CJEU

10-10-2019

The institution of the Advocate General was introduced into the Treaty of Rome under the influence of the French delegation during the preparation of the Treaty. The French were staunchly opposed to allowing individual judges to present dissenting or concurring opinions, and instead proposed this be done by an Advocate General, a figure modelled on the French commissaire du gouvernement, who offers legal advice to the Conseil d'État on the cases being tried. Initially, there were two Advocates General ...

The institution of the Advocate General was introduced into the Treaty of Rome under the influence of the French delegation during the preparation of the Treaty. The French were staunchly opposed to allowing individual judges to present dissenting or concurring opinions, and instead proposed this be done by an Advocate General, a figure modelled on the French commissaire du gouvernement, who offers legal advice to the Conseil d'État on the cases being tried. Initially, there were two Advocates General – one French and one German. Over time, this number increased, and a number of Advocates General posts were permanently assigned to the larger Member States, whilst the remaining ones were 'rotated' among the smaller countries. Today, there are 11 Advocates General, six of these posts are permanently assigned to the larger Member States. Advocates General are Members of the Court of Justice of the EU, and are appointed under the same procedure as judges. They enjoy the same privileges as judges (immunity), and cannot be removed from office before the end of their six-year term of office. They may be re-elected. Unlike judges, however, they only have an advisory role and do not take part in the decision-making on cases. As a matter of principle, the opinion of an Advocate General is sought in every case tried by the Court of Justice (CJ), unless the latter decides that there is no new point of law. This happens in roughly 30 % of the cases each year. Even though the General Court (GC) has the power to appoint ad hoc Advocates General, it does not now apply this in practice. In contrast to CJ judges, whose opinions are written in a formal and terse language that uses standard phrases and wording often borrowed from earlier judgments, the Advocates General can choose their own style. Again, unlike CJ judges, they also consider the interpretive alternatives and various options of deciding on a case, before proposing their own solution. In the absence of dissenting opinions filed by the CJ judges, the opinions of the Advocates General therefore play an important role and are referred to in later cases. The CJ is not bound by these opinions; nonetheless, according to empirical research, in the case of an action for annulment of an EU act, the CJ is 67 % more likely to annul it if doing so was advised by an Advocate General. This Briefing is one in a series aimed at explaining the activities of the CJEU.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Maroš Šefčovič – Vice-President: Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Věra Jourová – Vice-President: Values and Transparency

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

Következő események

20-11-2019
Europe's Future: Where next for EU institutional Reform?
Egyéb esemény -
EPRS
21-11-2019
Looking back on 1989: The Fight for Freedom
Egyéb esemény -
EPRS

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