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Advanced Course in European Union Legal Practice – Has been Regularly Updated


CEU lecture room. Photo taken by Z. Kamenska.

On July, the 4th, I depart for Budapest, with the aim to participate in the Advanced Course in European Union Legal Practice (Special Lisbon Treaty edition). The course has been worked out and is conducted by the Department of Legal Studies, and the Summer University of Central European University (CEU), and the Total Law Team. The course takes place from 5-17 July 2010, and ends with an examination.

How did the first day (5 July 2010) at the Central European University (CEU) look like?

During the day a welcome lecture and two “main” lectures were held.

The first lecture, held by Petra Bard, was about forensic biobanks and human rights protection, and the relevant shift of paradigm in understanding of our liberties. The lecturer referred to case S. and Marper vs. the United Kingdom, applications nos. 30562/04 and 30566/04, judgment of 3 December 2008, ECtHR, where the ECtHR established disproportionate interference with the applicant’s right to respect for private life that could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society. The lecturer gave an overview of development of the principle of availability (exchange of data without formalities) and the Prüm Treaty, and international regulation of the forensic biobanks under the UNESCO, Council of Europe, and EU law. The lecturer did also “draw” out the structure of the ECtHR’s test under Articles 8 and 14 of the ECHR:

● prescribed by law;

● legitimate aim;

● necessary in a democratic society;

● pressing social need;

● proportionality;

● relevancy;

● sufficiency.

The second lecture was held by Joseph H. H. Weiler, and this lecture was about the citizenship of the EU in the context of the connection between democracy and the EU decisionmaking institutions (whose activities depend on the conferral of powers on them). Questions such as “How to set up mechanisms in order to avoid direct democracy in its worst forms (The Christ, Socrates’ death; execution of the kings, etc.)?” were raised. On the other hand the society needs democratic legitimacy. Therefore, the most important question (to my mind) is perhaps not only who are the citizens (with their identity and with that what forms that identity (culture, religion, political ideology, language, geography, food, etc.)), but having a just mechanism that could avoid the referred worst forms of direct democracy, being at the same time legitimate – public power should be legitimately given. Professor Weiler raised also the question, whether the citizens of the EU have only rights, or also obligations.

After the lectures was held a public panelIntegrity in Political Security. How can political WILL overcome bureaucratic WON’T?” The panelists were Vaira Vike-Freiberga (former Latvian President), Abdul Tejan-Cole (head of the Corruption Council at Sierra Leone; Director of the Open Society Institute), and Hadeel Qazzaz (Palestinian civil society activist; expert of gender issues).

The public panel was introduced by the CEU with the question: “What is more important in legal education – to teach values, or to teach regulations? The panelists brought out different aspects connected with the balance between civil society and government – “Should everything base on people’s will?”; “How much should privacy, access to news, internet be regulated?”; “Should freedoms and liberties be constrained?”

The interesting and thematically harmonizing day ended with SUN welcome reception with Hungarian food and drinks. The big plates with foods were provided with labels. 

The second day (6 July 2010): Two seminars held by Joseph H. H. Weiler on European Citizenship and the meaning of demos and its interpretation of it by different nations.  „Where do I belong?“; „How do I feel?“ (feelings are part of humanity and cannot be ignored); „What is my individual identity?“; „Who do I share my identity with?“; „What form collective identities?“… Weiler’s one point of departure was that we define our civilization by how we treat The Other, which he considers indispensable part of our sense of identity. But if we think – how do we define the Otherness? The people who are not me? For the beginning, one could list his /her similarities and differences. During the second seminar professor Weiler presented a really critical analysis of case C-413/99: Baumbast, and began with the critical analysis of the case C-148/02: Garcia Avello vs. Belgium. After the seminars, the participants were invited to library tour. In the end of the day, the students were invited to a local pub named „Ellátó Kert“ for a social event with Joseph H. H. Weiler. The event was supposed to begin at 20.00, but I unfortunately just managed to get a bit tired by that time after the flight.

The third day (7 July 2010): The day began with two seminars held by Damian Chalmers: „Crowding and Agenda-Setting: The Commission and the Presidents“. Connected with the right of the people to know who makes laws for us, and on what principles should such activities be based, the first seminar began with analysis of the European Commission as agenda-setter, and in the end raised questions about the relationship between lobbying and citizens’ initiative in the EU. When my thought reached the conclusion that as they actually try to control the lobbyists’ work in the EU by specific registration requirements and financing, which do not directly and that way constrain the citizens’ initiative, Damian Chalmers had already initiated the idea of comparing the citizens’ initiative with voting in the Euopean Council.

After the seminars, the students were invited to the conference „New Values after the Lisbon Treaty“, organized by the Pazmany University. But I introduce the conference in a separate posting.

The fourth day (8 July 2010): Professor Damian Chalmers did hold two seminars about European Parliamentarism and Representative Democracy after Lisbon. Mostly the details of the legislative procedures – the consultation procedure, ordinary legislative procedure, and consent procedure, were critically discussed. Questions as: “How many MPs are in the EP per area?”; “Is the representation proportionate?”, and many more were brought up.

After the classes I took a Budapest City-tour (as part of identity course) by bus. The tour lasted for 2,5 hours and was a real  fun. Alternatively, you can take the virtual tour of Budapest: By 8 p. m., all course participants were invited to the place Most Jelen for a social event with the professors Chalmers and Jose M. de Areilza.

● The fifth day (9 July 2010): Professor José M. De Areilza conducted two seminars on Institutional Changes and Balance of Power in the EU. The balance of powers and the rules governing the interaction between the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, and the European Council, were analysed. After the seminars, the participants had the possibility to visit the Hungarian Constitutional Court. I visited the library. 

The sixth day (10 July 2010) – Professor José M. De Areilza’s two seminars on Institutional Changes and Balance of Power.

The seventh day (11 July 2010) – This is Sunday, and the participants are invited to boat trip to Szentendre.

The eighth day (12 July 2010): Guest lecturer Marie-Pierre Françoise Granger talked about the political aspects of the CJEU (social aspects of litigation, institutional pressures, judicial policies, possibilities to influence decision-making by the courts, intergovernmentalism and the CJEU), how do the legal scholars view decision-making in the CJEU, methodological challenges to studying EU litigation, etc. issues.

The ninth day (13 July 2010): Associate Professor Imola Streho made the participants think about free movement of goods, beginning with concepts, Treaty provisions, structures, classical case-law, and ending up with application of classical case-law (Cassis, Dassonville, Keck) in recent litigation (C-110/05: Commission vs. Italy).

The tenth day (14 July 2010): Professor Imola Streho very professionally demonstrated how to conduct case study in free movement of goods (included the arguments that should be expected from law school students), and talked about the free movement of services (case law, Directive 2006/123/EC on services in the internal market, and its transposition).

The eleventh day (15 July 2010): The Head of Unit of the Legal Service of the European Parliament, Kieran St. C. Bradley, talked about the CJEU, its architecture, organization, and jurisdiction. The participants made presentations on the CJEU’s evolving case law.

The twelfth day (16 July 2010): Kieran St. C. Bradley continued with the  political role of the CJEU, direct effect, primacy, and conferral and exercise of competences in their dynamics, The participants again made presentations on the CJEU’s evolving case law, me on the case C-70/88, Parliament vs. Council, 1990, ECR I-2041. The participants received diplomas after the seminar, group photos were taken, and the farewell reception followed.

The thirteenth day (17 July 2010) – Exam. To demonstrate the actual knowledge acquired. After the exam I can say that we were expected to critically reflect on the developments of the CJEU’s case law on citizenship, based on a concrete example; agenda-setting in the EU; the impact of the institutional changes on the EU’s foreign policy; and /or the problems in the CJEU related to the accession of the EU to the ECHR.

What did I learn during the course?

Dimension of humanity in EU citizenship law; critical analysis of the case C-413/99: Baumbast; interaction between the EU decision-making institutions and their interaction with the civil servants of the Member States and with the other members of civil society; the balance of powers and the rules governing the interaction between the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, and the European Council; that the next Presidency in the European Council belongs to Hungary; the new rules on Council Presidency after the Lisbon Treaty; Commission Work Programme 2010; Report to the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso by Mario Monti of 9 May 2010; new developments in free movement of goods jurisprudence; how to conduct case study in law school in EU law.

Why was the course useful?

The judicial part was useful for my Ph.D. Dissertation about judicial and extra-judicial remedies in EU law, and I can complement the relevant law faculty course materials.

The policy and decision-making part was extremely useful for the general EU law courses that I read to the political science and governance students. The course gave a comprehensive and expert overview of the latest developments. 

Sunday morning I am returning home, being very happy for having had the possibility to attend the course.

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