Rassegne e commenti

This article examines the ruling by which the German Federal Constitutional Court declared on 24 March 2021 that certain provisions of the Climate Protection Act of 12 December 2019 (KSG) are unconstitutional. The national climate protection targets and the annual permissible emission volumes up to 2030 that the provision envisages were found to be incompatible with fundamental rights, as they lack sufficient requirements for further emission reductions from 2031 onwards. The ruling recognises that every freedom is potentially affected by these future emission reduction obligations because almost all areas of human life are still depending by the emission of greenhouse gases and are therefore threatened by drastic restrictions that could occur after 2030 according to the current regulation. The legislator should therefore have taken precautions to mitigate these high burdens in order to safeguard fundamental rights in an innovative ‘intertemporal’ perspective, and thus also adequately guarantee the rights of future generations.

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The paper analyzes judgment T-238/2020 whereby the General Court rejected the appeal filed by Ryanair DAC. With the appeal, the low-cost airlines sought to obtain the annulment of the European Commission’s decision C (2020) 2366 final approving state aid granted by the Kingdom of Sweden to airlines with Swedish licenses. The General Court rejected the appeal as the concession procedures and the purpose of the measure were considered compatible with EU law.

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When the European Union will come back after the summer break (la rentrée) in September 2021, the second half of the ninth legislature will begin, along with the second half of the term of office of the European Commission presided over by Ursula von der Leyen: the challenges are huge and the projects and unfinished business under way are numerous and complex and all the European institutions are being called upon to cope with a situation which is admittedly delicate yet full of stimuli and potential. First of all, the Conference on the Future of Europe must be brought to a successful conclusion: here not only is the Union’s credibility at stake but also the question of its ability to keep a steady hand on the tiller in the years ahead. At the same time, but still closely linked to the Conference, there is the question of defending the founding values of the Union, in particular the rule of law and non-discrimination, which are the subject of disputes with some States. Then there is the need to get the Next Generation EU operation - one of the most important political and economic initiatives in the continent’s history - off on the right track and, with it, get Europe out of the pandemic crisis, which has a variety of aspects in addition to the obvious one of health. The next few years will also be decisive for assessing the validity and solidity of the agreement on Brexit, which is as sensitive as the pressures on free movement brought about by emergencies. Lastly, there is the immense construction site of digitalisation with its various themes (artificial intelligence, Digital Service, teleworking, cybersecurity). It is therefore worth quickly taking stock of where we stand.

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With the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union that is going to be analyzed herein, the European judge focuses on the primary purpose of investigating the possibility of considering the Italian F.I.G.C. (Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio) a body governed by public law. In this respect, the comment aims at summarizing the main issues concerning the mentioned body, especially with regard to the conditions provided for by law in order to recognize such public entity. At the end of the note some critical considerations will be made about the decision.

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In its decision 2 BvR 547/21, the Second Senate of the German Federal Constitutional Court rejected the application for interim measures aimed at preventing the entry into force of the Federal Act ratifying the "Own Resources Decision" adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the European Union in December 2020. At the same time, however, the Court declared the request for constitutionality review lodged with the application to be admissible and not manifestly unfounded. Although the hypothesis seems unlikely, in the future the ruling on the latter could lead the German Constitutional Judges to find a violation of the so-called constitutional identity (as derived from the interpretation of Art. 79, paragraph 3 of the German Basic Law), with serious consequences for the participation of the Federal Republic of Germany in the process of supranational integration.

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The French Conseil d'Etat categorically rejected the thesis that the courts of the Member States, in particular their supreme (or constitutional) courts, are authorised to review any "ultra vires" of the European institutions. The wording of the judgment is an implicit way of recognising the CJEU's monopoly on the authentic interpretation of the Treaty, unlike the German constitutional court in the Weiss case and scholarship regarding the notions of constitutional identity and the protection of national security. It also recalls that traditional case law of the Conseil d'Etat, which can be considered as a French version of the doctrine of counter-limits, i.e. that only if there is a fundamental right in Union law that corresponds to that guaranteed by French constitutional law, EU law and the CJEU’s jurisprudence apply.

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The aim of this article is to analyse some questions concerning the relationship between the policy of the European Union in the Higher education and the profound changes taking place in the Italian university system.

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The German Constitutional Court, following a complaint by two thousand German citizens, determined that, pending the final decision, the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, could not promulgate the Own Resources Decision that allows the European Commission to issue bonds on the markets to finance the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The decision had already been approved by the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. The complainants argue that the way in which the RFF is financed violates the EU’s obligation to maintain a balanced budget and consider the planned issuance to be a "flagrant violation of the EU Treaty", namely of article 311 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU). This is not the first time and probably will not be the last that the Bundesverfassungsgericht questions, and tests, the limits of European competences and the relationship between German and European constitutional sovereignties. It was so with the Solange judgments, in the decades of 1970 and 80; in examining the constitutionality of the law ratifying the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and in the assessment of the law ratifying the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009; and last but not the least, last year, the Court questioned the European Central Bank’s secondary markets purchase programme for public sector assets, ultimately, drawing upon itself powers conferred by the Treaties exclusively on the Court of Justice of the EU, thus threatening the foundations of an integration legal order established over 70 years. Without the Own Resources Decision, which must be approved by all Member-States, the Commission will not be able to issue the bonds needed to finance the RRF. To avoid adding a serious economic crisis to the pandemic one, aggravated in Europe by the shortcomings of the European Commission’s management of the vaccines purchase, the Bundesverfassungsgericht should provide an urgent response. In a way, the German Constitutional Court has built itself up, in European matters, as a defender of a strict constitutional nationalism, incompatible with Germany’s commitment to European integration. Once again, the long-term future of the European Union will be decided in the short-term response of the German Constitutional Court.

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The Draghi government has taken office at a time when the labour market, characterised by the decisive influence of information technologies and a high degree of mobility, is undergoing great changes. The emergence of the pandemic, which had been underway for almost a year when the Draghi government was sworn in, has hit the labour market with the destruction of jobs and the failure to create new ones, while at the same time accentuating the disruptive processes underway (IT, mobility). The phenomenon is supranational, and the European Union is acting on two levels: facing up to the emergency (SURE, Youth initiative, EU Next Generation, etc.) and intervening on the basis of a strategy focused on investment in information technologies. It is these technologies which are changing production processes and how trades and professions are carried out, reshaping the labour market while making it necessary for workers to upskill and have IT profiles and creating a strong asymmetry between workers and their employment prospects. The Premier’s speech and the government’s programme are taking this problem into account: on the one hand, they have announced reforms of the assegno di riallocazione reallocation allowance and of job centres, on the other hand, they are talking about strengthening infrastructure (broadband, 5G) and the transversality of the Digital Transition. All of which seems appropriate. The hope is that all this will be done in the European strategic context and that the employment market becomes the omnipresent pivot of the transversal transition.

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The essential points of the reasoning developed in this article are: Covid-19 has brought to the fore the role played by the administration as a bridge in the (conflictual) confrontation between the power of science and political power; the health emergency has cast light on the importance of the functioning of parliamentary institutions for the defence of democracy because the executive branch (objectively) gets the upper hand. The administration of the European Parliament is a very interesting case study in this respect because it has succeeded in coping with the emergency thanks to several factors; EPA implemented a programme of structural digitisation of the European Parliament in recent years. Finally, EPA worked for activating an administrative capacity to manage the “unprecedented measures” that had to be adopted: this capacity was achieved by carrying out the actions within the strict framework of the governance of the European Parliament and under its permanent scrutiny.

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