The future of EU citizenship status – emerging as a crisis?

This considers citizenship status in the context of the Eurozone crisis, the rise of the political far-right, the migrant crisis and the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the paper discusses what intervening political factors emerged from these events that have contributed to shaping the future of EU citizenship. The paper will explain how these factors have affected the interpretation of citizenship status in terms of its material and personal scope, with a particular focus on what this means for the future of EU citizenship, and how this shows a crisis is emerging. The argument is that the growing pressure on the EU as an institution as well as the underlying difficulties that has plagued EU citizenship’s success from the outset are coming to the fore through the Court’s adjudication of citizenship status. As such, the concept of EU citizenship is losing its hard-fought identity as a substantive constitutional status, and with it, its relevance within the legal order the EU.

Methodology and the future of EU law

Latest debates about the methods and methodology of EU law are largely data driven or advocate deeper law-in-context methods or historical studies. Indeed, a significant body of research is developing which contends that the future of EU law must be empirical to realise its scientific benefits, to develop the discipline and to broaden the reach of lawyers beyond the doctrinal. This paper introduces the special issue on the future of EU law as a question of methodology using methodological, conceptual and constructivist lenses. It engages in a reflection on the future of EU law threefold: it considers 1) directly the place of the methodological lens, looking across sub-disciplines and fields of EU law; it considers 2) the place of a future conceptual lens of sub-fields and shifts taking place within fields (competence, politics, institutions, litigation) and it finally considers 3) the place of a constructed lens in formulating the future of EU law as a question of methodology.

The Future of EU Tax Differentiated Integration

Tax is a microcosm of the issues surrounding differentiated integration in the EU and the post-Brexit landscape. The UK could seek to diverge from EU rules, avoid the EU’s desire for a level playing field and distance itself from regulatory alignment by becoming a form of tax haven. This could extend to VAT and customs duties, in relation to which the UK could seek to avail itself of the opportunity to increase its flexibility on VAT rates and alter the tax base. The EU’s contrary desire not to turn a partner into a competitor, provides an opportunity to offer some flexibility to the UK in order to maintain a close relationship. These issues as to how far to diverge and how far to align relate to the fundamental issues of state sovereignty and territoriality. This paper drawing from historical sources considers the role of tax harmonisation in the EU in the context of the minimum harmonisation mechanism for differentiated integration.

Three dimensional EU Competition Law

The dynamic of European Union (EU) competition law usually plays out in two-dimensions: the ability of its technical framework to capture and deal with economic reality and the intensity of judicial review of its enforcement. The consensual view has been that new technology markets characterised by strong network effects required no substantive adjustment of competition rules. This is no longer the case regarding digital platforms which have so far managed to ward off challengers and expand into multiple domains. Novel economic approaches are put forward and, from the first time since the ‘modernisation’ of competition law, substantive changes are explored. At the same time, there is a call to explicitly integrate societal concerns in its enforcement. Therefore, either this third dimension of competition law is (again) emphasised and reflected in substantive changes and judicial control, or competition law itself risks being overrun and limited to a much narrower scope of action.

Framing EU Constitutionalism: a theory of constitutional change for the EU

This paper considers: will/should a genuinely democratic process of polity-building emerge and is it possible to design a constitutional framework that successfully combines rule of law and democracy in the transnational sphere? It postulates that, in these turbulent times, the EU is going through one or more ‘constitutional moments’, with relevant implications for the meaning of the notion of ‘constitutional change’ for the EU – not merely in formal-structural terms, but as regards the viability of a theory of democratic legitimacy underlying the European project. This paper thus puts forward two interlaced arguments for a reflection on EU constitutionalism. First, a discussion on the ‘future’ of the EU benefits from harnessing the notion of ‘constitutional time’. Second, any discussion of this type cannot disregard the importance of the necessary mutual interpenetration of rule of law and democracy within the process of European integration.

Digital Intermediaries and Balancing of Fundamental Rights Online: In Search of the Right Framework

This contribution explores a particular aspect of the protection of fundamental rights in the Internet: the horizontal application of fundamental rights to online platforms. Internet platforms are increasingly required to enforce fundamental rights online by often assuming the task of balancing competing rights. As a result, Internet platforms become adjudicators of fundamental rights online with quasi-judicial powers. This paper attempts to propose a systematic method for assessing the appropriate framework under which the balancing of fundamental rights by Internet private entities should take place. Drawing upon the literature on digital constitutionalism, it argues that such a method requires an assessment of i) the architecture that is created by the horizontal effects of fundamental rights online; ii) the content and context of the removal request as well as the relevant processes; and, iii) the diverse rights and interests at stake.