For a long time considered, improperly, a sort of ‘nuclear’ option, Article 7 TEU is the key EU Treaty provision in the field of values enforcement. In the context of the Union’s current rule of law crisis, such a provision deserves the greatest attention, especially after the European Commission’s proposal in December 2017 to trigger the procedure against Poland, under Article 7(1) TEU. This article contributes to understandings of the provision by reviewing its main features and contextualising its deployment in the general Polish rule of law crisis, with the aim of evaluating whether it can now be considered as an operational instrument for values enforcement. Although the Commission’s (late) decision to activate the Article 7(1) TEU procedure should be welcomed as a major effort in restoring the rule of law within the European Union, the (perceived and real) limits of Article 7 TEU and the inertia of the EU institutions cast a shadow over the procedure’s effective implementation.
This paper examines the interaction between constitutional design and practice through a case study of Canadian federalism. Focusing on the federal architecture of the Canadian Constitution, the paper examines how subnational units in Canada actually compete with the central government, emphasizing the concrete strategies and tactics they most commonly employ to get their way in confrontations with central authority. The evidence affirms that constitutional design and structure make an important difference in the tactics and tools available to subnational units in a federal system, but that design is not fully constraining: there is considerable evidence of extraconstitutional innovation and improvisation by governments. Furthermore, changes in practice initiated by Canadian subnational actors have produced changes in the allocation of national and subnational authority that are plausibly characterized as constitutional in magnitude. The paper concludes that the design of the Canadian federal system may inadvertently undermine its capacity to stabilize itself at any particular point of constitutional evolution, making it ‘permanently provisional.’
Contributions in this special issue argue make a number of points with regard to the urgent need to change the economic governance of the Eurozone, pointing at some tools to increase its spending capacity. The process of potential fragmentation ignited by the recent vote on Brexit make such changes even more urgent, signalling the need to provide concrete responses to citizens, in order to show that the euro area, and the EU at large, are able to satisfy some of their crucial needs. The papers which make up this special issue were presented in Florence, at a meeting held in the framework of a Jean Monnet + Project called MoreEU. The first section deals with the reform of the budget; the second with a further use of quantitative easing and the role of the ECB.
The EBU represents a clear investment in administrative integration with clear implications for the constitutional features of the EU. This paper aims to give an analysis of the administrative arrangements, through which the functions of supervision and resolution are affecting the single financial market. This case study is very interesting because these functions represent a genuine novelty in the history of financial integration since they are pre-ordained to a specific public interest: financial stability. Particularly, they cause a shift in the decision gradient from the technical to the political, as market integrity is less and less the key interest compared to financial stability. However, this wider discretionary power is not adequately counteracted by checks and balances in favour of accountability. As a result, the EBU makes a new contribution to the well-known ‘fragmentation of the executive power’ of the EU by introducing a new governance tool positioned between the Communitarian and Intergovernmental Method, but its development is still full of uncertainties given that constitutional equilibrium is far from being definitively reached.
Since it was passed, the Clarity Act has been at the core of any secessionist debate in Canada and abroad. Although contested at home, the Clarity Act has earned worldwide prestige as the democratic standard that must be observed when a secessionist debate arises. In the last fifteen years Spain has experienced successive debates about the need to establish a mechanism of popular consultation to address secessionist claims in the Basque Country and Catalonia. Most political actors in favour of such consultations have expressed their will to import the Canadian Clarity Act as a tool to settle disputes on how to conduct a referendum. However, this deification of the Canadian example is, for the most part, based on a misreading of the Secession Reference, only taking into account certain passages while ignoring others. The emphasis tends to be made on the quantitative clear majority test, disregarding other factors. Hence, the aim of this paper is to study the causes of this deification of the Clarity Act in Spain, and its influence on the treatment of secessionist claims that the country is currently experiencing.
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