Castbergs minneseminar 2019: Legal and constitutional aspects of EU´s reactions to member states authoritarian and il-liberal constitutional reforms
This year’s Castberg lecture is given by Nicolaas Bel, Deputy Head of Unit for Justice policy and rule of law, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law.
Professors Christophe Hillion and Hans Petter Graver, UiO, will give prepared comments before an open discussion.
National constitutions and sovereignty in Europe have since 1945 been combined with significant and comprehensive forms of political and legal cooperation particularly through the European Union and the Council of Europe and their treaties and various bodies. The European organisations have been formed partly to enable more and more binding forms of collaboration and partly to strengthen and the support the constitutional democratic and rule-of-law ideals of the member states.
Over the last few years significant disagreements concerning the constitutional models of rule-of-law, democracy and human rights have emerged. The Council of Europe has worked with constitutional reforms and change in the member states for a long time and has more and more heterogeneous members than the EU.
This seminar will however focus on the legal situation between the EU and its member states. The EU is bound by a closer collaboration and more comprehensive and binding legal obligations than the Council of Europe both in terms of law and politics. Recently some EU member states have developed policies which challenge the common ideals and values of the EU, and EU authorities have addressed this with criticism and possibly sanctions.
Hungary and Poland and their policies in relation to their Supreme courts are currently the most vital examples of this. The EU addressing constitutional change in the member states is particularly sensitive to the political, constitutional and legal balance between the EU and the member states.
The lecture will give an overview, an analysis and a discussion on the policies and sanctions considered and applied by the EU towards member states such as Poland and Hungary in cases where they have enacted constitutional reforms which are considered not to be in accordance with their treaty obligations to constitutional ideals. This is a theme which concerns EU-law, constitutional law and international law.