POMFR: Der Staat im Recht

The moment has come to deliver on this blog’s promise of looking beyond the realm of the English language. For this POMFR post, I would like to present a recently published Festschrift which contains a number of contributions of interest to EU lawyers capable of reading German.

Der Staat im Recht is a Festschrift for Professor Eckart Klein, formerly Ordinarius at the University of Potsdam, which covers a broad range of topics – constitutional law, procedural law, international and human rights law and of course EU law. Now, while there are a number of non-EU law contributions which I found thought-provoking (if you have time, read the rather grim essay on the world dominance of human rights by Isensee, ‘Die heikle Weltherrschaft der Menschenrechte’), I will focus on the EU law contributions for this blog post.

There are essentially two kinds of contributions in this volume that are to be recommended in my view. The first one are somewhat ‘classic’ topics which set out issues of high relevance of the last few years and provide a welcome opportunity to bring your EU law Allgemeinbildung up to date. Under this rubric, e.g. Meng discusses the topic of services of general economic interest (‘Die “Dienste von allgemeinem wirtschaftlichen Interesse” – ein Problem der Normenklarheit im EU-Recht’). Stern assesses the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights before and after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty (‘Die Charta der Grundrechte der Europäischen Union vor und nach Lissabon’). Pechstein examines a crucial topic in the field of external relations, the codification of the ERTA case law in the treaties (‘Die Kodifizierung der AETR-Rechtsprechung durch den Vertrag von Lissabon’). Streinz illustrates a number of problems surrounding the imminent accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights (‘EU und EMRK: Beitritt ermöglicht, aber nicht leicht gemacht. Probleme des Beitritts der Europäischen Union zur Europäischen Menschenrechtskonvention nach dem Vertrag von Lissabon’). It is in particular the last contribution which I find helpful, as Streinz sums up concisely the problems on the road to accession: beyond rather obvious issues such as the relationship between the CJEU and the European Court of Human Rights, he also assesses procedural topics such as the co-defense mechanism and the need to ensure previous internal review of a case by the CJEU.

The second set of contributions pursues what I would consider rather novel ideas. Take Stein’s contribution, for example, which examines the consequences of EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (‘Der Beitritt der Europäischen Union zur EMRK im Hinblick auf mögliche Konsequenzen für die Gemeinsame Aussen- und Sicherheitspolitik’). He concludes that currently, after accession the European Court of Human Rights would gain a more prominent role under the Common Foreign and Security Policy than the CJEU– and therefore suggests strengthening the latter’s review powers in this field of EU policy. Nettesheim examines the legal feasibility of a European Redemption Pact, the much discussed proposal by German economic experts as potential future part of a solution to the ongoing European debt crisis (‘Der Schuldentilgungsfonds: Rechtliche Rahmenbedingungen eines umstrittenen Instruments zur Eurorettung’) (for more on the proposal, see here). In perhaps the most fascinating piece, von Arnauld discusses the increasing use and relevance of ‘complementary’ international law solutions to EU legal problems (‘“Unions(ergänzungs)völkerrecht”. Zur unions- und verfassungsrechtlichen Einbindung völkerrechtlicher Instrumente differenzierter Integration’). International agreements, from Schengen to the ESM, pose potential problems in terms of the distribution and exercise of competences.

Summing up, this book does what a good Festschrift should do, at least in my view: it gives you an opportunity to make sure you are keeping abreast of where we stand today with its articles on rather fundamental issues, and then shows you the way forward by introducing you to some issues you may only have heard little about so far. If you can find the time, seize this chance.