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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

25.04.08: EU treaty set to be examined by Czech and German courts - 0 views

  • The Lisbon treaty is set to be examined to see if it breaches national laws in two member states, raising the risk that the 1 January 2009 deadline for the document to come into force across the EU will be delayed.

    The Czech Senate on Thursday (24 April) voted in favour of asking the constitutional court to check whether the treaty is in line with Czech law.
  • The key issues that the senators asked the court to check include the transfer of certain powers to EU institutions, the shift of decision-making among member states from unanimous to majority voting, as well as the legal implications of adopting the Charter of Fundamental Rights - with the charter causing the most concern among Czech lawmakers.
  • Germany Meanwhile, Germany's court is also set to examine the treaty. After the lower house of parliament strongly endorsed the charter on Thursday, conservative MP Peter Gauweiler repeated his intention to bring the treaty before the country's constitutional court.
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  • He said his reason for bringing the case is the constitutional court's loss of power to the European court. The constitutional court has until now kept an eye on the inalienable rights of German citizens given to them by Germany's constitution (Grundgesetz), he noted. "With the Lisbon Treaty, the sovereignty over these rights is given to foreign courts, whose members are not sworn to protect the constitution. That is not allowed by the constitution," the MP told the paper.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

11.02.09: German judges express scepticism about EU treaty - 0 views

  • Several of the eight judges in charge of examining whether the EU's Lisbon Treaty is compatible with the German constitution have expressed scepticism about the constitutional effects of further EU integration. According to reports in the German media, the debate during the crucial two-day hearing starting on Tuesday (10 Februrary) on the treaty centred on criminal law and the extent to which it should be the preserve of member states rather than the EU.
  • In all, four of the eight judges questioned the Lisbon Treaty.
  • On Wednesday, the court is to examine article 146 of Germany's constitution, which says that a referendum may be called if the constitutional order in the country is changed to the detriment of Germany's current constitution – the Grundgesetz or Basic Law. The court could therefore ask for a referendum, concludes the Suedeutsche Zeitung.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.04.08: Poll: Serbs pro-EU, but not ready to give up Kosovo - 0 views

  • A large majority of Serbs still want their country to join the EU (63.9%), although the figure has dropped compared to last October, when 71.5% voiced their support for EU accession, reveals the poll, which was released yesterday (9 April).  However, 71.3% of Serbian citizens consider it unacceptable that the possibility of EU membership is made conditional on Serbia's recognition of its former province's secession. 
  • Serbia's Kosovo Minister Slobodan Samardzic added that it would be interesting to see whether the EU would continue the stabilisation and association process now that Kosovo is an independent state.  "Should the EU happen to do that, and does it only with independent states, that would automatically mean that the EU was breaching Article 135 of our agreement on stabilisation and association with the EU, where Kosovo's position is clearly defined," the minister explained. 
  • Governments Kosovar Constitutional Commission: Kosovo's Constitution Press articles Poll: Serbians want EU, but not without Kosovo Tadić speaks against interference in elections BBC: Kosovo adopts a new constitution
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

26.01.07: Meeting of Pro-EU constitution states to discuss tactics - 0 views

    The 18 member states that have already ratified the EU constitution are gathering on Friday (26 January) to discuss how to swing the political debate around to their side of the fence, with the nine countries who have stopped the ratification process continuing to steal the political limelight.

    The 18 countries, plus Ireland and Portugal, who also consider themselves "friends of the constitution" as the gathering is being called, are meeting in Madrid to set out political tactics, look at elements of the constitution that could be altered, and challenge non-EU constitution states to come clean on what they want from the process.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

O'Neill (2006), The Struggle for the European Constitution - 0 views

    EU Constitution provides the most comprehensive account of why the Constitution developed and what its implications are. It clearly explains: the political crisis behind the Constitution; the power politics at work in the negotiations; how the Constitut
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

Moravcsik (2006) What can we learn from the collapse of the European Constitutional Pro... - 0 views

    The draft European constitution sought to legitimate the EU by inducing more popular deliberation about Europe's future. This strategy was doomed to failure because it is inconsistent with basic empirical social science about how advanced democracies work. Salient political rhetoric and increased opportunities to participate do not, as a rule, generate more intensive and informed public deliberation or greater public trust, identity and legitimacy - particularly where the issues in question are not highly salient. Two conclusions follow. First, the failure of constitutional reform is, paradoxically, evidence of the success and stability of the existing "European constitutional settlement." The rhetoric of federalism has not changed to reflect this new reality. Second, prescriptive analysis of real-world constitutional reform requires that normative theorists draw more heavily on empirical social science in order to ascertain to what extent institutions actually have the consequences ideally ascribed too them.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

Carbone (2010): National Politics and European Integration: From the Constitution to th... - 0 views

  • National Politics and European Integration: From the Constitution to the Lisbon TreatyMaurizio Carbone 0 ReviewsEdward Elgar Publishing, 2010 - Law - 243 pagesThis book discusses the domestic politics of treaty reform in the European Union, from the failed referendums on the Constitutional Treaty held in France and the Netherlands in May-June 2005 to the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in December 2009. The chapters, written by some of the finest scholars in the field of EU/European politics, show how European integration has increasingly become a contested issue in a majority of Member States. Going beyond the view that national governments are the main, if not the sole, driving force in the process of European integration, this book shows that other actors and factors have played a central role in preference formation and inter-state bargaining. These include: political parties, public opinion, the media, presidents, constitutional courts and, more broadly, political systems, ratification hurdles and the general negotiation context. National Politics and European Integration combines empirical analysis and theoretical explanations for one of the most controversial periods in the history of the European Union. This important book will be of great interest for advanced students in EU studies, comparative politics and public policy.« Less
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

21.01.09: German constitutional court to examine Lisbon treaty - 0 views

  • Germany's constitutional court is preparing for an unusually long hearing on the EU's Lisbon treaty in a process that will help determine the fate of the document across the European Union. Over two days next month (10-11 February) the court's judges will discuss whether the treaty breaches Germany's constitution.
  • The court is considering a complaint brought by conservative MP Peter Gauweiler, who has argued that the treaty infringes on the rights given to German citizens in their country's constitution by allowing a foreign court - the European Court of Justice - to decide upon such issues. He also argues that the treaty undermines the power of Germany's own parliament, the Bundestag.
  • The Czech Republic, Poland and Ireland also have yet to complete ratification. The Czech parliament is due to debate the charter at the beginning of February. If it passes parliament, it then faces another hurdle in the shape of the country's eurosceptic president, Vaclav Klaus, who must also give his approval. Ireland is having another go at ratifying the treaty after it was rejected by Irish citizens last June. The second referendum will take place in the autumn. The result will directly influence Poland's treaty situation. Polish President Lech Kaczynski has said he will only give the nod to the treaty if Ireland's referendum produces a Yes vote.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

30.06.08: Czech Government: Lisbon-Treaty doesn't violate Czech Constitution - 0 views

  • The Czech government has advised the country's Constitutional Court that the EU's Lisbon treaty does not violate the Czech Republic's own constitution, improving the climate for ratification in the most problematic EU state after the Irish No vote.
  • Analysts expect the EU treaty to get through the 200-seat lower house. But the eurosceptic ODS party, many of whose members say Lisbon is dead after the Irish referendum, holds a 41-strong majority in the 81-seat upper house. The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus - an outspoken enemy of Lisbon - must also sign the text to make it law. The largely honorary office of the Czech president would find it hard to block a parliamentary decision in practice, however.
  • Ratification map France, Germany and the European Commission have called for ratification to continue despite the Irish No, pointing to a scenario in which Ireland stands isolated against 26 EU states and faces pressure for a re-vote, as occured with the 2001 Nice treaty referendum. Sixteen EU states have so far definitively ratified Lisbon. The Finnish, Polish and German parliaments have approved the text, but are awaiting their presidents' signatures. The Swedish, Dutch, Belgian, Italian, Spanish, and Cypriot legislatures will finish voting between July and the autumn. The Czech Republic is not the only problem country left, with the Polish president's office questioning whether the treaty still legally exists and the German constitutional court considering a legal challenge. Austrian leader Alfred Gusenbauer last week said he would also call a referendum if Lisbon is tweaked for a second Irish vote.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

02.02.07: EU-constitution - how to cut the Gordian knot - 0 views

  • The European constitution is something else tied with a Gordian knot. That knot is called ratification or rather the principle whereby each and every member state can hold the others to ransom in regard to its entry into effect. Eighteen member states have already ratified the existing constitutional treaty; three more would probably have little difficulty in doing so, but six remain. Of those six it might be reasonably assumed that three (France, Netherlands and Denmark) could be accommodated with concessions and safeguards. But the other three (the United Kingdom, Poland and the Czech Republic) seem to have grown potentially hostile to the whole constitutional enterprise.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

30.01.07: Czech Republic opposes the German Presidency's plan to revive the European co... - 0 views

    The Czech Republic has emerged as a key opponent of the German EU presidency's plan to revive the European constitution, with its newly appointed negotiator Jan Zahradil telling EUobserver that Prague seeks to curb EU powers and re-open core parts of the charter. [...]

    Mr Zahradil sees particular problems in the EU's charter of fundamental rights, which would get legal status as part of the EU constitution (currently it is a non-binding document.)
    He said a legally binding charter would open the door to a further expansion of EU powers through jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in areas touching on citizens' rights - such as social security, health care and pension rights. [...]

    The Czech resistance against a full-blown EU constitution is expected to be echoed by Poland, which has seen its conservative government voicing similar ideas with both countries' presidents discussing positions over the issue last weeek.

Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

23.11.2006: Wallström defends substance of the Constitution - 0 views

  • Margot Wallström presented her ‘best arguments’ for rescuing the Constitution in front of the Parliament on 22 November 2006 and called for a ‘second chance’ despite member state’s disenchantment.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.07.10: Macedonia name dispute inspires exotic idea - 1 views

  • A renowned research institute has suggested that Macedonia change its name to an agreed formula on the day of its EU accession as a means of resolving its ongoing dispute with Greece. As exotic as this may seem, the proposal has already triggered interest and debate in regional media.
  • The proposal, signed by ESI President Gerald Knaus, has triggered a lot of interest and debate in regional media, the institute notes in a press release circulated yesterday (12 July).
  • While most Europeans find the Greek position puzzling or irrational, the prevailing political thinking in many capitals is that the EU enlargement process should be slowed down, the ESI paper notes. In this context, the fact that Macedonia's EU bid is stuck is even welcome, the institute claims. Gerald Knaus is categorical in saying that if a compromise between Skopje and Athens is reached, then a referendum in Macedonia will be called. But the Macedonian politicians who may be ready to make concessions over the country's name would do so only on the condition that it would actually ensure the country's EU accession, the ESI director argues. To "square the circle," the ESI suggests making a constitutional amendment in Skopje that changes the country's name now, allowing Athens to support the start of EU accession talks later this year. But the amendment would only foresee the change's entry into force on the day Macedonia actually joins the EU. The proposed constitutional change could read: "All references to the Republic of Macedonia in this constitution will be replaced by a reference to XX (a compromise name) on the day this country joins the European Union." If for some reason Skopje never joins the EU, it will never have to change its name, the ESI paper reads. Knaus also argues that the proposed solution would allow both countries and their leaders to claim victory. In parallel, Greece should promise to allow Macedonia to join NATO under the name FYROM (the name under which Macedonia joined the UN) once the constitutional changes have been passed, he says.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

27.01.09: German constitutional court handed new complaint on Lisbon Treaty - 0 views

  • Germany's constitutional court has been handed a second complaint over the EU's Lisbon Treaty with the potential to delay the country's final ratification of the document for several months. The new legal action, running to over 200 pages, is concerned with economic as well as political issues, which the complainants say are not addressed by the Lisbon Treaty.
  • They say that the constitutional court cannot approve the Lisbon treaty because it "strengthens the current practice of dismembering the division of powers and mixing of competences." The complaint is being brought by Markus Kerber, a commercial lawyer, Dieter Spethmann, a former chief executive of Thyssen, former MEP Franz Ludwig Graf Stauffenberg and economist Joachim Starbatty.
  • The court now has to decide whether it will accept to proof their case. If it does, it is likely to take several months to come to a decision. This could delay the German government's timetable for the treaty, which it would like in place across the bloc by the end of the year.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

03.04.08: Kosovo constitution approved by EU - 0 views

  • The European Union has given its blessing to Kosovo's constitution, saying it is in line with the international standards that Pristina committed itself to when declaring independence from Serbia on 17 February.

    "Kosovo will have a modern constitution guaranteeing full respect of individual and community rights, including those of Kosovo Serbs," Pieter Feith, an EU special representative who is chairing an International Civilian Office there, was cited as saying by AP.
  • The constitution is expected to come into effect on 15 June - around the time when the European Union's mission, known as EULEX, is supposed to take over authority from the United Nations.
  • The aim of EULEX, consisting of over 2,000 personnel, is to help the Kosovo authorities in all areas related to the rule of law, in particular in the police, judiciary, customs and correctional services. However, it is still uncertain when exactly the transfer of power will take place, as the move lacks UN approval. Its top body, the Security Council, is divided over the issue, with Russia - Serbia's key ally - being the main opposition force.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

04.06.07: Amata group writes new-look EU constitution - 0 views

  • A small group of politicians from around the EU have published a repackaged treaty for the bloc, hoping to feed into the emerging consensus among member states that a "simplified treaty" has to be extracted from the ashes of the rejected EU constitution.
  • The treaty has been reduced to 70 articles (12,800 words) plus two protocols, one containing institutional changes and one containing policy innovations - by contrast the original EU constitution contained 448 articles and around 63,000 words. The chopped down dimensions come from only taking the innovations contained in the third part of the treaty - which essentially ties together former EU treaties - and putting them into additional protocols.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

09.02.07: Barroso puts pressure on the Netherlands over EU constitution - 0 views

  • European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday (8 February) urged the Netherlands to start "moving" towards a compromise on the EU constitution. Mr Barroso's trip to The Hague, the first-ever visit of a commission president to the Dutch parliament, came just one day after the publication of a new Dutch coalition agreement which says the Netherlands will seek major changes to the EU constitution, which was rejected by Dutch voters in a 2005 referendum
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.02.07: New government of the Netherlands set to delay EU referendum decision - 0 views

  • The Netherlands is set to postpone a decision on whether to hold a second referendum on the European constitution until a new version of the text is agreed at EU level. The three Dutch political parties that are in the final stages of forming a new centre-left government on Monday (5 February) broadly endorsed a coalition agreement which leaves the tricky decision of whether to hold a new EU constitution referendum to the country's highest constitutional advisory body, the Council of State.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

26.01.07: Madrid meeting defends the constitutional treaty's fundamental content - 0 views

  • A pro-EU constitution gathering in Madrid has called for a revised version of the charter to not go "below" the existing compromise, while expressing "frustration" at the lack of alternative solutions put forward by countries that have failed to ratify it. The EU constitution as it stands is "the result of complex and difficult negotiations" which reflects "delicate balances bringing together diverse political, social, economic and legal interests," stated delegates from the 18 countries that have already ratified the charter plus Ireland and Portugal on Friday (26 January).
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

18.06.07: EU treaty rifts remaiin after meeting of EU foreign ministers - 0 views

  • EU foreign ministers have agreed on how the new EU treaty should be presented – it should not be called a constitution, and not contain symbols such as an EU flag – but key divisions on the substance of the text remain unresolved.
  • But deep rifts remain on key parts of the treaty that go beyond mere names and symbols and which concern the division of power between the EU and its member states. The status of the Charter of Fundamental Rights – a document listing citizens rights and fully integrated into the draft constitution – is the subject of strong controversy, with the UK in particular opposing a charter that is legally binding.
  • Paris and Madrid seek the scrapping of a number of national vetoes as proposed in the draft constitution. This is strongly opposed by London which is not yet prepared to give up its veto in justice and police matters.
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  • The voting weights issue is seen as a major stumbling block for an agreement at this week's EU summit, with Warsaw proposing its own alternative voting system which would give itself more power relative to Germany.
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