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Edited by Gabriele Abels and Jan Battke

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Regional Governance in the EU

Regions and the Future of Europe

Edited by Gabriele Abels and Jan Battke

The role of regions in the European Union has been frequently debated since the 1980s. This comprehensive book provides a thorough overview of the issue from a variety of perspectives, analysing regional governance and territorial dynamics in the EU and its member states. Focusing on the implications of the democratisation–regionalisation nexus, it argues that a ‘Europe with the regions’ may promote good governance and ameliorate the democratic deficits of the EU.
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Edited by Olga Martin-Ortega and Claire Methven O’Brien

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Edited by Olga Martin-Ortega and Claire Methven O’Brien

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Public Procurement and Human Rights

Opportunities, Risks and Dilemmas for the State as Buyer

Edited by Olga Martin-Ortega and Claire Methven O’Brien

This timely work reflects on the role and obligations of the state as a buyer of goods and services, from the dual disciplinary perspectives of public procurement and human rights. Through theoretical and doctrinal analyses, and practice-focused case studies, it interrogates the evolving character of public procurement as an interface for multiple normative regimes and competing policies. Challenging the prevailing paradigm which subordinates human rights to narrowly-defined economic goals, insightful contributions advance a compelling case for greater inter-disciplinarity and policy coherence as crucial to realising international policies such as those embodied in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
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Steven Mulroy

Offers concluding thoughts about where to go from here.

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Rethinking US Election Law

Unskewing the System

Steven Mulroy

Recent U.S. elections have defied nationwide majority preference at the White House, Senate, and House levels. This work of interdisciplinary scholarship explains how “winner-take-all” and single-member district elections make this happen, and what can be done to repair the system. Proposed reforms include the National Popular Vote interstate compact (presidential elections); eliminating the Senate filibuster; and proportional representation using Ranked Choice Voting for House, state, and local elections.
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Autonomous Public Bodies and the Law

A European Perspective

Stéphanie De Somer

This insightful book discusses the impact of EU law on the creation and empowerment of autonomous public bodies (APBs) at Member State level and analyzes recent attempts of European states to rationalize delegation to APBs. It examines the tensions between these trends: under what conditions can APBs be considered legitimate forms of government in the light of modern conceptions of constitutionalism, the rule of law and democracy - values that are deeply rooted in European constitutions? And to what extent do EU obligations on the independence of national regulators, data protection authorities and the like conflict with those conceptions?
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Conflict

A European Perspective

Stéphanie De Somer

This chapter confronts the rationales behind the trend of ‘EU impulse’ with those behind the trend of ‘national restraint’. The main tension between the EU requirements of political independence and national constitutional law relate to democratic concerns. This chapter gives examples of how the implementation of the EU obligations on political independence of NRAs and DPAs has encountered such constitutional objections in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK. It then discusses and evaluates the position of the European Court of Justice on this particular tension, as expressed in the landmark judgment in Commission/Germany. Finally, it addresses the question of whether and to what extent the trend of ‘EU impulse’ gives rise to conflicts with the separation of powers doctrine as a derivative of constitutionalism and with concerns that are derived from the rule of law, which are two other meta values central to the trend of ‘national restraint’.

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EU impulse

A European Perspective

Stéphanie De Somer

This chapter discusses the first trend that is central to the book: that of ‘EU impulse’. An increasing number of EU legislative documents oblige or strongly encourage Member States to entrust the implementation of substantive rules of EU law to administrative bodies that enjoy a certain (often substantial) degree of political autonomy. To many lawyers, this type of influence by EU law is counter-intuitive: the EU legislature has traditionally left decisions on national administrative organization to the Member States themselves. This is now changing and the question arises why this is the case and to what extent this interference is legitimate. The first part of this chapter is mainly descriptive in nature. It gives an overview of EU positive law in this field and more precisely discusses the obligations anchored in EU legislation on the (political) independence of national regulatory authorities (NRAs) on the one hand, and human rights monitoring or supervisory bodies on the other. As far as the latter category is concerned, considerable attention goes to the data protection authorities (DPAs), which are subject to far-reaching requirements of political independence under EU law. Subsequently, the chapter concludes that all instances of ‘EU impulse’ share two common features. First, EU legislation confers broad, discretionary powers on the NRAs and DPAs that it expects Member States to create. Secondly, Member States are under an obligation to insulate these bodies from all forms of political supervision or influence, especially at the level of their actual decision-making activities. These findings play a crucial role in Chapters 4 and 5, where the tension between EU law and national law is addressed. The final section of this chapter addresses the rationales behind ‘EU impulse’. These rationales are subsequently evaluated as to their legitimacy. The evaluation partly relies on theoretical arguments, but also on tentative interview research carried out with market players operating on the Belgian energy and electronic communications markets. The chapter concludes that the influential ‘time consistency theory’, as advocated by many proponents of regulatory independence today, may well be overrated. Ensuring that the decisions made by NRAs are based on expert judgements and precluding conflicts of interests are identified as the most important valid rationales behind NRA independence.