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The European Stability Mechanism: Human Rights Concerns Without Responsibilities?

Abstract

The current financial problems of some Euro-area Member States have been tackled by ad hoc financial institutions, formed outside of the EU as international institutions and aimed at granting financial assistance on the basis of strict conditionality measures, which seriously affect human rights (particularly social and economic rights).

The paper focuses on the impact of the actions of the European Stability Mechanism and analyses whether this institution (or the European institutions and the Member States involved in it) should bear the responsibility for such violations.

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Free Movement of Persons and European Solidarity Revisited

Abstract

This paper analyses the case-law of the European Court of Justice on the scope and limits of cross-border access of economically inactive Union citizens to national systems of social assistance. The author de-constructs and challenges the weak rhetoric of transnational solidarity generously deployed by the Court of Justice at the beginning of the expansive cycle of its case-law on the transnational social protection rights of mobile EU citizens. The most recent case-law shows, in fact, a spectacular retreat from this rhetoric in tune with the neo-nationalistic and social-chauvinistic moods prevailing in Europe.

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How much Solidarity is in the EU Budget?

Abstract

In this article I argue that the EU budget is (slowly) moving from a budget based on the rationale that richer EU countries help poorer EU countries in exchange for their engagement to the process of economic integration, and because economic development of the EU has positive economic returns for them, to a concept of solidarity based on a different rationale; that all member states and the Union are confronted with the same challenges and risks. In order to support this argument I analyse the development of the different budget headings as well as the increasing flexibility within the budgetary system.

Leaving aside the discussion as to whether this change is considered to be positive or negative, a reform of the own resources system and a stronger involvement of the European Parliament in the negotiation of the Multi Financial Framework would be essential to foster the trend. These reforms, together with an increase in the financial resources available, are necessary if the EU budget is to be reconciled with a solidarity role it should and has to play, in addition to giving the EU the means to properly address current and future challenges.

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Promoting solidarity in crisis times: Building on the EU Budget and the EU Funds

Abstract

This article examines the evolution of the EU ‘redistributive’ policies in the (post-) crisis EU era. By reviewing the EU cohesion policy, the financial assistance mechanisms, the new economic governance measures and the potentials of attributing the EU fiscal capacity, it aims to conceptualize the notion of solidarity as redistribution as this has evolved by reason of the crisis. The article argues that by virtue of the diverging economies, interests and preferences of the Member States, reciprocal or ‘effects-based solidarity’ is the only type of solidarity that has been exhibited among the Member States during the crisis. It, further, shows how the principle of solidarity has not lived up to its potential in the present crisis context, but it has instead been cropped up in sharply different ways in the rhetorics and communications of political parties of all hues across the Union.

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Solidarity in the European Union in Times of Economic Crisis

Abstract

The present special issue of Perspectives on Federalism reflects on the nature and characteristics of solidarity within a supranational context, it explains what solidarity has meant so far in the EU, how much solidarity we had during the crisis, what type of solidarity is needed and how to build it. It focuses on the new economic governance and its solidarity mechanisms during and after the economic crisis but tackles other related fields such as its impact on services of general economic interest or the European budget, as well as other areas where solidarity is also discussed such as the free movement of persons.

This monographic issue has its origin in the International Conference “Solidarity in Hard Times. Solidarity and the European Social Model in times of economic crisis” organized by the University Institute for European Studies (IDEE) on 11-12 June 2015 in Madrid, within the Jean Monnet Network MoreEU (“More Europe to overcome the crisis”).

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Article 260 TFEU Sanctions in Multi-Tiered Member States

Abstract

The question at hand is located at the intersection of EU law and national constitutional law, and aims to answer the following problem: namely, how to mitigate federal concerns in the context of infringement procedures and financial sanctions under art. 260 TFEU. This article approaches this question both from the perspective of the Commission and the Court of Justice, as well as from the vantage point of the central and regional governments involved. After analysing the composition of the financial sanctions, we cover the involvement of subnational entities in the infringements proceedings in six tiered Member States (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK) and the relevant national provisions for the partition of financial sanctions. The conclusions pertain to both the central and regional level and the EU institutions concerned, adhering to the multi-level relationship subjacent to this article.

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Belgian Federalism after the Sixth State Reform

Abstract

This paper highlights the most important institutional evolutions of Belgian federalism stemming from the implementation of the sixth state reform (2012-2014). This reform inter alia included a transfer of powers worth 20 billion euros from the federal level to the level of the federated states, a profound reform of the Senate, and a substantial increase in fiscal autonomy for the regions. This contribution critically analyses the current state of Belgian federalism. Although the sixth state reform realized important and long-awaited changes, further evolutions are to be expected. Since the Belgian state model has reached its limits with regard to complexity and creativity, politicians and academics should begin to reflect on the seventh state reform with the aim of increasing the transparency of the current Belgian institutional labyrinth.

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De Gaulle, the “Empty Chair Crisis” and the European Movement

Abstract

European Movement International (EM) was founded in October 1948 after the Hague Congress held in May to coordinate the initiatives of the major European movements and political forces in favour of the unification of the Old Continent.

The aim of this essay is to analyse EM’s stance in defence of the Community institutions established under the Treaties of Paris (1951) and Rome (1957), in the face of the so-called “empty chair crisis”. This crisis between the French government and the other Community partners was triggered by proposals made in March 1965 by the Commission of the European Economic Community, chaired by Walter Hallstein, which established a direct relationship between the renewal of the financial regulation of the Common Agricultural Policy, the shift towards a system of “own resources” (from agricultural levies and customs duties) and the strengthening of the European Parliament’s powers.

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Federalism in Pakistan: Of Promises and Perils

Abstract

This paper presents the case of Pakistan, which is also broadly illustrative of the issues concerning federalism and subnational empowerment in developing countries characterized by unconsolidated political systems and enhanced constitutionalism. In the course of the analysis, this paper examines the dynamics and determinants of federalist/subnational politics in Pakistan, the formal constitutional and ordinance frameworks stipulated in support of federalism and subnational governance. The analysis shall be focused on the Local Governments Ordinance of 2001 and the 18th Constitutional Amendment, as these have been the most substantive attempts at subnational constitutionalism that were instituted under opposing political systems, and the extent to which they have enabled greater prospects for a stable federation while also examining the challenges that the radical departure under the 18th Constitutional Amendment put forth.

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