October 21, 2014

National Constitutional Rights as a Limit on the Application of European Law in Integration's Early Decades (Will Phelan)

Network member Will Phelan (Trinity College Dublin) has let us know about a new article entitled "The Limited Practical Relevance of National Constitutional Rights as a Constraint on the National Application of European Law in the Early Decades of European Integration". The article is available from the Irish Journal of European Law and can be downloaded in full here. An abstract is below.

Scholarship on the early development of the supremacy of European law has frequently been dominated by discussion of the possibility that a directly effective European law obligation would not be applied in the national legal order because it violated a national constitutional law fundamental right, as discussed, for example, in the Frontini and Solange decisions of the Italian and German Constitutional Courts. This paper argues that such a possibility should instead be seen as of limited practical relevance. This claim is supported by early scholarship on the application of European law in the national legal orders and by the practice of constitutional review of laws giving execution to treaty obligations in Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Germany, including the German Constitutional Court’s 1955 decision on the Saar Statute. Two conclusions are drawn from this discussion. First, scholarship examining the development of European law supremacy in relation to national constitutional law fundamental rights in particular should be situated within the context of the flexible and politically sensitive approach to adjudication demonstrated by Europe’s national courts in their decisions on potential conflicts between constitutional rights and international legal obligations. Second, scholarship offering a general explanation of the development of the supremacy of European law should not focus on the national constitutional rights question to the exclusion of a thorough examination of national law solutions to European law’s lex posterior problem. 

October 8, 2014

Announcement: Picketty and Ashton at EUSA Conference (March 5-7, 2015 in Boston); extended deadline until October 10 to submit panels

Network member Michelle Egan (American), also Chair of the European Union Studies Association (EUSA) Executive Committee, asked that we forward this important announcement:

Dear EUSA members,

As the extended deadline approaches this Friday Oct. 10 for submissions for the biennial conference in Boston, March 5-7,2015, we'd like to share with you one more reason that this is a EUSA that is not to be missed! In addition to Thomas Piketty's plenary lecture on the evening of Friday, March 6, a plenary session at noon the same day will feature Lady Catherine Ashton, outgoing High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in a discussion involving Peter Katzenstein, Kathleen McNamara, and Brian Rathbun.


We look forward to seeing you in Boston!

The Network on SSRN: Marketa Trimble, "The Territoriality Referendum"

Network member Marketa Trimble (UNLV) has posted a new piece on SSRN, entitled "The Territoriality Referendum."  The article is forthcoming from the WIPO Journal.  The abstract is below and the full article can be found here.

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Many Internet users have encountered geoblocking tools – tools that prevent users from accessing certain content on the Internet based on the location from which the users are connecting to the Internet. Because at least some users want to access such content, they turn to tools that enable them to evade geoblocking, to appear on the Internet as if they were located in another location, and to access the content that is available in this other location. So far these activities appear to be under the radar of intellectual property (“IP”) owners, perhaps because geoblocking evasion by users for the purposes of accessing IP-protected content can be viewed much like non-infringing de minimis importation in small numbers for non-commercial use (TRIPS, Art. 60).

This article points out that there are signs of substantial user desire to access content that is not available in the user’s location; this desire is evidenced, for example, by the recent proliferation of the numbers of and commercial success of space-shifting services that have advertised and/or have been used to access territorially-restricted television content from any place in the world (e.g., ManekiTV, Slingbox). It is possible that with more territorial restrictions imposed on content on the Internet and with courts finding at least some of the space-shifting services infringing (e.g., TVCatchup, Aereo) users will turn to geoblocking evasion even more than they have already. The article discusses the effects that such increased geoblocking evasion might have on the territoriality of IP rights – or the effects on at least some of the implications of the territoriality.

September 20, 2014

Query: Teaching a Mini-Course on the EU -- suggestions wanted (Greg Shaffer)

Network member Greg Shaffer (UC-Irvine) is preparing to teach a four-to-five day condensed course on EU law this January.  He has asked whether any network members might be willing and able to share: (a) any suggested materials for such a course (including a syllabus, etc.); or (b) any short documentaries or similar media on the EU that could be used to break up a three-hour class and keep students engaged.  Any suggestions much appreciated --- please reply directly to Greg here

September 8, 2014

Call for Abstracts (due Sept 22): "The Challenge of Teaching EU Law in a US Law School" (EUSA Conference, Boston, March 5-7, 2015)

This year's EUSA Conference will be in Boston from March 5-7, 2015 (more details here).  Among the focus topics in the Call for Papers and Proposals is "Theorizing and Teaching the EU."  Network members Peter Lindseth (UConn) and Daniela Caruso (BU) would like to organize a roundtable of other network members and interested scholars on "The Challenge of Teaching EU Law in a US Law School."  As a point of entry into the discussion, the organizers suggest Daniela's 2011 article in the Tulane Journal of International & Comparative Law, entitled "European Union Law in US Legal Academia."

With apologies for the lateness of this request, Peter and Daniela would like to receive abstracts from interested participants no latter than Monday, September 22.  This will allow them to select the roundtable and finalize the proposal by EUSA's submission deadline on October 3.  People interested in participating should send their proposed abstracts to both peter.lindseth@uconn.edu and danielac@bu.edu.

Thanks.

August 30, 2014

The Past, Present, and Future, of EU Enlargement (Frank Emmert and Siniša Petrović)

Network member Frank Emmert (Indiana-McKinney) has let us know about a new article he recently published with Siniša Petrović (Zabreb) entitled “The Past, Present, and Future, of EU Enlargement.  The article is available from the Fordham International Law Journal and can be downloaded in full here, along with Frank’s other publications.  The first paragraph is below:

From the founding days of the European Coal and Steel Community ("ECSC') in 1952, European integration has been designed as an open access model. At least in principle, every European State has the right to join. And in spite of the somewhat mixed reviews the European Union (EU) has been getting from its citizens over the years, it has shown a remarkable and sustained attractiveness to those not yet among its members. The main reason is, undoubtedly, that the EU has been successful in its primary mission, namely to bring peace and prosperity to a continent that was regularly torn apart by violent conflict ever since historic records exist. At first, only Western Europe was able to benefit but right when the impact of European integration on peace and prosperity in the region was beginning to be taken for granted, the challenge of expanding the mission to all of Europe presented itself. As we all know, the EU has meanwhile grown from 6 Western founding members to 28 current members and now encompasses virtually the entire geographic range of Europe. One additional country managed to sneak in through the backdoor without a formal accession procedure. Only two countries, Norway and Switzerland, have ever decided against accession, and only one territory, Greenland, has ever decided to leave the EU. No fewer than eight more countries are right now at various stages of accession preparation, and several more may yet decide to apply.  Thus, enlargement is an ongoing story and the map of the EU will still be re-drawn several more times before its final borders can be determined. At the same time, the procedure for accession negotiations is regulated only in very superficial terms, which have remained largely unchanged over time. Yet, the procedure has evolved considerably in practice. As always, when the law on a particular question provides only a basic framework, the discretionary powers of those who apply the law greatly increase. The Council and the Commission have not shied away from making use of those discretionary powers. It is the purpose of the present article to show how individual Member States, or rather individual leaders of those Member States, via the unanimity requirement in the Council, were able to impose their views on enlargement in the early years. Secondly, we will show that this power has shifted noticeably to the Commission as the number of Member States has grown. Nevertheless, strong individual leaders in the Member States can still put their mark on the timetable and conditions of enlargement. There just seem to be fewer of those distinguished leaders today. Thirdly, we try to predict the use of discretionary powers in ongoing and future accession negotiations. To that end, we analyze how accession negotiations were conducted with the Central and Eastern European Countries ("CEECs") which joined in 2004 and 2007, how and why the approach was modified for the negotiations with Croatia, and how and why the strategy is already different again for the next group of countries. 

August 26, 2014

US Law Professors of EU Law: Additional Information Regarding Student Internship Opportunity at US Mission to the EU in Brussels

In response to his initial post regarding this opportunity, Kenneth Propp, Legal Counselor to the United States Mission to the European Union, has forwarded the following additional information.  Please also note that we have been advised that the application period for the Summer 2015 Internship will open on September 2, 2014 and close on October 17, 2014.

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Thank you for the interest many of you have expressed regarding the legal internship offered through the US Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.  I would like to clarify several questions that have been raised about the position.

·         The position is located in the US Mission to the EU,  in Brussels, Belgium, specifically in the Mission’s Executive Office, which consists of the Ambassador, deputy chief of Mission, and legal counselor, among others.  The selectee would work on projects generated by the Ambassador and legal counselor.

·         We offer this internship opportunity three times a year, in the fall (beginning September), winter (beginning in January) and summer (beginning in May-June) for a term of ten weeks.  Thus it is a good opportunity for students who are interested in spending a semester abroad as well as for those looking for summer employment.  There is some limited flexibility on starting dates.

·         The internship is an unpaid position. We appreciate that this can be a hardship for students, but fortunately many are able to obtain funding from their law schools or other institutional resources to enable their participation.

·         The link regarding the internship on the U.S. Mission’s website (http://useu.usmission.gov/internships4.html)redirects potential applicants to a link on the U.S. Department of State website (http://careers.state.gov/intern/student-internships) for applications to the larger State Department internship program.  This is because the selection process for the Brussels position examines only those applications submitted through the State Department internship program as a whole.

·         As several have noted, the State Department student internship program currently is not accepting applications.  Applications next will be accepted beginning in approximately mid-October, for internships during the summer of 2015.  It will remain open only for a number of weeks thereafter.  The selection process for the summer position then will occur over the next several months.  The US Mission will conduct telephone interviews with a handful of top candidates.

·         The candidate selected through this process for the internship then must undergo a security clearance process, which can require several months, hence the need for the long lead time for applications.

·         Your students who are interested in applying for the summer 2015 cycle should place their names on an email distribution list (http://careers.state.gov/intern/student-internships) in order to be notified specifically when the short window for applications will open in October.

·         The only application materials are those required for the larger State Department internship program.  A CV, summary of academic record, and personal statement are the main features.  We look closely at all these elements, concentrating on legal background, especially in international and European law, grades, and quality of writing.  Applicants interested in the Brussels legal internship should specifically so indicate in their application through the State Department program.

·         Unfortunately, because of volume, we discourage potential applicants from contacting the US Mission directly with further questions about the program.

I wish the process were less cumbersome and bureaucratic, but we must operate within U.S. Government constraints.

I hope this further information is helpful.  Please circulate as appropriate.

Kenneth R. Propp
Legal Counselor
United States Mission to the European Union

August 25, 2014

Book Announcement: Risk Governance of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations (Hempel Lindøe, Baram, and Renn, eds.)



Network member Michael Baram (BU) has asked us to alert the network to not one but two recent collective volumes on the topic of risk and governance of which he is the co-editor.  The first is Governing Risk in GM Agriculture, and the second is Risk Governance of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations, both from Cambridge.  The publisher's overview for the latter and more recent book is below, and more information can be found on the Cambridge site here.


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This book evaluates and compares risk regulation and safety management for offshore oil and gas operations in the United States, United Kingdom, Norway, and Australia. It provides an interdisciplinary approach with legal, technological, and sociological perspectives on their efforts to assess and prevent major accidents and improve safety performance offshore. Presented in three parts, the volume begins with a review of the technical, legal, behavioral, and sociological factors involved in designing, implementing, and enforcing a regulatory regime for industrial safety. It then evaluates the four regulatory regimes that encompass the cultural, legal, and other contextual factors that influence their design and implementation, along with their reliance on industrial expertise and standards and the use of performance indicators. The final section presents an assessment of the resilience of the Norwegian regime and its capacity to keep pace with new technologies and emerging risks, respond to near miss incidents, encourage safety culture, incorporate vested rights of labor, and perform inspection and self-audit functions. This book is highly relevant for those in government, business, academia, and elsewhere in civil society who are involved in offshore safety issues, including regulatory authorities and industrial safety professionals.