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Peter Bußjäger

Abstract

According to many legal and political scientists the Austrian Bundesrat is generally considered to be a paradigmatic example of a politically and legally weak second chamber embedded in a strongly centralised federal system. This view is justified. However, there is the need for a more differentiated view with regard to Austria’s federal system and its second chamber.

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Meg Russell

Abstract

The House of Lords is the world’s longest-established and probably best-known second chamber. Wholly unelected, with most members appointed for life, it appears a vestige of the ‘elite’ form of bicameralism once common throughout Europe. Hence calls for major reform are commonplace. However successful changes have been piecemeal and rare. Meanwhile the UK is not federal, but is nonetheless a ‘union state’, comprising the territories of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, each with its own distinct governing arrangements. These were most recently boosted by the 1997 Labour government’s devolution programme. Hence for decades, and particularly the last 20 years, devolution and Lords reform have both been on the UK’s political agenda. Throughout this time attempts to create a ‘second chamber of the nations and regions’ have repeatedly failed. This paper reviews the proposals made, and the obstacles they faced - drawing lessons for Britain, and territorial bicameralism more widely.

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Jacek Czaputowicz and Marcin Kleinowski

Abstract

The Treaty of Lisbon introduced a new system of weighted votes in the Council, which radically departs from the principles on which the distribution of votes between the Member States of the EU was based for more than half a century. At the same time, the system of double majority is fundamentally different from the assumptions on which voting systems in federal states are based, including in the Bundesrat. Systems used in federal states are usually based on a compromise between the equality of states, and the equality of citizens. Consequently, in the Nice system, smaller Member States in the EU had relatively greater power compared to their populations than smaller federal units in the German Bundesrat. The results presented in this paper indicate that the Lisbon system of voting in the Council differs significantly from voting systems in federal states.

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Kamil Ł. Ławniczak

Abstract

The Council is a crucial intergovernmental institution of the European Union. However, the complex, opaque and consensual character of the decision-making process in the Council puts its legitimacy into question. Intergovernmentalist theory posits that it is sufficiently legitimised, indirectly, by the member state governments. Constructivist research, on the other hand, suggests that socialisation might disturb the relaying of positions from the national to the supranational level, as the former approach implies. This paper aims to explore these issues, in particular related to representation and consensus. It contains an analysis of material generated in in-depth interviews and concludes that more effort is invested into reaching a more inclusive compromise in the Council than one would expect if it were to decide by qualified majority. Socialisation is weakening the input legitimacy of decisions made in the Council, while at the same time enhancing their output legitimacy by favouring genuine consensus.

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John Boye Ejobowah

Abstract

This paper evaluates the second-generation theory (SGT) of fiscal federalism. It spells out the main arguments of the theory and discusses the fiscal architecture of Nigerian federalism with a view to using the case study to work out the strengths and weaknesses of the theory. After arguing that the weaknesses of the theory outweigh its strength, the paper goes on to point out the dangers of using a particular construct of fiscal federalism as a model. It notes that SGT theory is an attempt at reviving and modelling nineteenth century American fiscal federalism as a universal standard.

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Sérgio Coimbra Henriques

Abstract

The Council is a crucial intergovernmental institution of the European Union. However, the complex, opaque and consensual character of the decision-making process in the Council puts its legitimacy into question. Intergovernmentalist theory posits that it is sufficiently legitimised, indirectly, by the member state governments. Constructivist research, on the other hand, suggests that socialisation might disturb the relaying of positions from the national to the supranational level, as the former approach implies. This paper aims to explore these issues, in particular related to representation and consensus. It contains an analysis of material generated in in-depth interviews. The Capital Markets Union (CMU) initiative serves as an umbrella term for regulatory changes directed at the overall development of European capital markets. As such, when analysing the legal framework of the CMU, it is important to note that this involves an undertaking which goes beyond the regulation of financial systems, also aiming to achieve supervisory convergence throughout the member states of the European Union. Indeed, it is perhaps one of the clearest examples of federal implications within the EU. All the synchronous movements enacted into law, leading towards harmonisation and supervisory convergence, show us that the CMU is an foundational piece in a collective journey towards ever greater integration in terms of economic governance and economic policies. Nonetheless, even if the CMU is one of the few cross-country risk-sharing mechanisms available to the EU, its implementation faces difficulties (as well as the looming Brexit) that demand careful analysis.

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Erika Arban

Abstract

In a global context where popular referenda are increasingly used to decide contested issues, this paper aims at exploring the framework in which, in October 2017, two referenda took place in the Italian northern regions of Veneto and Lombardia to seek additional forms and conditions of autonomy within the Italian regional state as painted by the Constitution after the 2001 reform. By adopting mainly an analytical perspective, this contribution studies the political and constitutional underpinnings of the two referenda while at the same time providing a cursory comparative account of differential and asymmetric regionalism.

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Mariana Pinto Ramos

Abstract

The European Social Dialogue, and its output, the European collective agreements, are intended to implement minimum standards of working conditions that bind all Member- States, in a logic of legal harmonisation of the European Union’s social objectives. However, despite some federal traits of the European Union (“EU”), since the beginning European social dialogue has faced numerous challenges, particularly when confronted with the need to balance economic interests, giving social policies a subsidiary role, and when facing the different agendas of each Member-State. This article proceeds with a historical analysis of the development of European Social Dialogue, its implementation stages, and past and current challenges, which can be divided in three phases: past experience, present experience and current challenges and, finally, an attempt to project what new social policies might hold for the future.

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Francisco Pereira Coutinho and Martinho Lucas Pires

Abstract

In 2017 we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Maastricht. The commemoration of these historic events was the perfect excuse for a critical and renewed discussion of European integration. It was also an opportunity for discussing the EU through the lens of “federalism”, i.e. to look at it from the perspective of federal theory and / or through its substantive and formal dimension. This issue of Perspectives on Federalism includes papers presented in conferences organized at Warsaw University in June 2016 and at Lisbon Nova Law School on May 2017 under the Jean Monnet Project “More EU - More Europe to Overcome the Crisis”. The articles discuss, either from a more general or from a more specific standpoint, within a variety of subjects, some of the federal features of the EU.

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Rui Tavares Lanceiro

Abstract

This paper explores the similarities between the EU’s system of administrative implementation of its legislative acts, and the German and American systems of administrative implementation of their respective federal laws. The article will also study the connection between the principle of sincere cooperation, established in the EU Treaties, and equivalent principles which exist in federal legal orders, namely the “Bundestreue” principle. The EU system appears to be closer to the German model of federalism than the US. Despite the federal inspiration, one cannot say that the principle of sincere cooperation is a federalising influence on the EU.