The Challenges of Eastward Enlargement of the EU. Political and Economic Transitions in Eastern Europe

It’s been several years since the first countries of Central and Eastern European began their transition to market economies. This transformation was a special challenge since there has been no clear and detailed map to guide the way. In this short article  I would like to point the most general macroeconomic problems of the successfully reforming countries as well as the challenges of their political transition.

Tamas Reti in his article ‘East Central European Economic Transitions and the West’[1] defines major tasks these economies has to face at the onset of the transition:

– going through a process of macroeconomic stabilization ( external and domestic )

– implementing economic liberalization measures

– introducing major institutional changes ( mainly, the decrease of state involvement in the economy, beginning with property changes, and the emergence of a new private sector )

It was clear that the legacy of the Soviet-style economic system, which produced both hidden and open inflation, monetary overhang, excess demand, fiscal deficit, a foreign debt crisis – had failed.[2] The first free parliamentary elections gave an impetus for new governments to select appropriate reform strategies for their nations’ conditions. The result of these changes, became transformation of a ‘shortage economy’ into a ‘demand-constrained economy’.

However, this was beginning of the recession that has been compared to the Great Depression of the 1930s in the US. As Tomas Reti points out, the reason for the recession were the collapse of the COMECON trade, which resulted in a switch to dollar-trade and the end of bilateral state trading. [3]

Another important factors can also be named:

– the squeeze on real wages and credit supply, which affected both consumer demand and the business climate;
– the absence of government assistance to state firms led to a decline in output.

Along with these, in the framework of monetary stabilization, a tight monetary policy reduced government expenditures, and a restraint on wages had a direct negative impact on the level of production.[4]

Western trade and opening up became a major source for economic growth. From 1988 to 1990 the political systemic changes occurred in Central and Eastern Europe, and the European Community began promoting political and economic reforms. Cooperation agreements were established between the EC and the former USSR Poland, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania.

The General System of Preferences was provided, which eliminated a number of quantitative restrictions and reduced barriers to textiles and steel products. [5] At the end of 1994, following the splitting of Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia had Association Agreements with the EC, which consolidated the removal of trade obstacles, except agriculture.

http://one-europe.info/should-the-eu-suspend-its-enlargement

Speaking about the Eastern enlargement, the asymmetry in economic potential between the old and new member countries of the EU has made it the biggest challenge. Along with this , the Union was unprepared to open its doors to countries which are unable to prove the efficiency of their democratic systems. So the answer was the Copenhagen criteria, the rules of which set general requirements for establishing effective democratic institutions, respect for human and minority rights, and appropriate mechanisms for guaranteeing a market economy.[6]

Of course, the domestic conditions in the current candidate countries are less favourable than they were in the post-communist countries in 2004. Without a doubt, exists a negative impact on the legislative capacity of the Council of Ministers due to the dramatic increase in the number of MS in recent years. As Ulrich Sedelmeier in his article ‘Europe after the Eastern Enlargement of the European Union: 2004-2014’[7] states that

the increase in numbers and increasing heterogeneity of MS preferences threatened to thwart effective decision-making not only in areas that explicitly required unanimous agreement but also Council’s longstanding practice for consensus decisions.

Additionally to the challenges of enlargement for decision-making in the Council, there were also concerns that the need to accommodate representatives of the new members in other EU institutions, notably for the Commission and the Parliament, enlargement could lead to indigestion.

Another area in which a negative impact of the 2004 enlargement might have caused greater reluctance is the new member’s compliance with EU law. The acquis communautaire, were the main reason for skepticism about the desirability of eastern enlargement. And at the same time, were raised concerns about the durability of compliance after accession. Another sense of negative attitudes towards further enlargement is through immigration, mainly labour immigration from poorer eastern MS.

The enlargement of the EU posed and will pose severe budgetary, administrative, and operational challenges for the Union. As considerable as the challenges of enlargement for the EU are, the challenges of accession for the new members especially for those countries, which were governed by Communist parties with predominantly-collectivized economies.

David R. Cameron defines those challenges[8] as:

1)administering the acquis;
2)deepening and extending the reform and transformation of the economy;
3)reducing high levels of unemployment and large government, trade, and current account deficits;
4)financing accession in the face of the EU’s budgetary constraints and financial provisions; and
5)coping with all of those challenges.


[1] Tamas Reti “East Central European Economic Transtition and the West”., Macalester International Vol.2

[2] Ibid page 54

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Stefania Fabrizio, Daniel Leigh and Ashoka Mody., “The Second Transition: Eastern Europe in Perspective”., Economic Papers 366, 2009.,European Commission Economic and Financial Affairs., Brussels

[6] Jacek Wieclawski “The Eastern Enlargement of the European Union: fears, challenges and reality”. Global Studies Journal., Issue 15, 2010

[7] Ulrich Sedelmeier “Europe after the Eastern Enlargement of the European Union: 2004-2014”., Heinrich Boll Stiftung topics., 2014 http://eu.boell.org/sites/default/files/uploads/2014/06/eastern_enlargement.pdf

[8] David R. Cameron “ The Challenges of EU Accession for Post-Communist Europe”., Center for European Studies, Working Paper Series #60., Department of Political Science Yale University http://aei.pitt.edu/9273/1/Cameron.pdf

The Role of General Principles Within a Legal System of the EU. Example of France and Germany

The concept of general principles of law today is very important to deepen the process of European integration, the formation and development of EU law in general. Important role in its development and consolidation plays the Court of the EU. Its consistent practice led to the formation of the concept of EU law and the recognition of its general principles. According to L. M. Entin, EU law in terms of spatial application has a regional character. [1] It applies to the relatively closed group of states belonging to the same general geographic region.

Principles of EU law include: the principles governing the validity of norms and sources of EU law, their relationship with the national law of the Member States and general and special principles of law. [2] General principles of law are relevant in number of ways:

first of all they serve as an aid to interpretation;
secondly, may be invoked by States and individuals to challenge

Community action or acts of institutions; thirdly, whether in the form of a legal or an administrative act, may also call for challenging action by a Member State. [3]

One of the basic tenets of European Community law is the protection of fundamental rights. Fundamental human rights were prior to Internationale Handelsgesellschaft and ECJ made fundamental rights an integral part of the general principles of law. This right refers to a broad concept including access to justice, the principles of fair trial and due process of law. [4] The approach of the ECJ was to seek constitutional inspiration of Member State, including the international norms and so the community had its own agenda and human rights protection.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights which was formally proclaimed in Nice in December 2000 by the European Parliament, Council and Commission contains 54 articles grouped in seven chapters: dignity, freedoms, equality, solidarity, citizens’ rights, justice and general provisions. [5]

Articles I-V of the Charter reflects to human dignity which upholds the rights to life, integrity of the person and prohibits slavery and torture;
Articles VI-XIX upholds the rights to liberty, respect for private and family life, to freedom of thought, conscience of religion, the right to expression, education, work, property and asylum;
Articles XX-XXVI provides principles of equality and non-discrimination, respect for cultural, religious and linguistic diversity and grants specific protection to the rights of children and persons with disabilities;
Articles XXVII-XXXVIII includes the protection for the rights of workers, recognizes the entitlement to social security, the right to health care access and the principles of consumer and environmental protection;
Article of Citizens’ rights ensures the rights of citizens of the Union to vote, to be a candidate in election to the European Parliament and in municipal elections, the right to petition, good administration, to diplomatic protection, freedom of movement and of residence and access to documents;
and the last Article of Justice lists the rights of defence, the principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and an fail trial. [6]
Article II of TEU states that respect for fundamental human rights is one of the foundational values of the EU.

As well as the principle of fundamental rights, the principle of proportionality affected EU law in the Internationale Handelsgesellschaft case in 1970. It has become one of the fundamental principles of the jurisprudence that was developed by the European Court of Justice and states that a public authority may not impose obligations on a citizen except if they are strictly necessary in the public interest to attain the purpose of the measure.[7]

The principle of proportionality applies to situations in which competence has already been established and seeks to protect stakeholders against administrative or legal burdens. Its applicable in respect of the Four Freedoms such as the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital. If we consider EU level then the principle of proportionality is applied in different ways, as when it comes to policy making, this principle is applied with some prudence.

For example, if a measure that may harm an individual because it limits her/his property rights but leads to the result that is envisaged by a certain policy, then can be acceptable of its to the benefit of the society as a whole.[8] The general sense of the principle is that ‘any action by the Community shall not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives the Treaty’.[9] According to Enzo Cannizzaro, proportionality plays a prominent and important role ‘in limiting the power of taking countermeasures in response to internationally wrongful acts’.[10]

Initially, the principle of subsidiarity has not played any significant role in the history of European integration. Formal incorporation of the principle of subsidiarity in the Community has been realized with the adoption of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Incorporation of the principles of the founding agreement was facilitated by two main factors.

Firstly, after the adoption of EEA, Community acquired new areas of competences and its role has been strengthened by the decision ruled by a qualified majority. But still participating countries were concerned that too much power transferred from the national level to the European, so that the Community may become ‘re-centralised’ organization with excessive powers.[11]

Therefore, the member states sought to introduce defined criterion establishing the list of powers that can be performed by the Community. Secondly, on the eve of preparation of the new treaty, has intensified debate between proponents of federalism and intergovernmentalism about the future of the EU.

Thus, the main objectives of the principles of subsidiarity were: the satisfaction of the centrifugal tendencies of the participating countries by establishing clear lines separating powers between the Community, on the one hand, and the participating countries, on the other; and secondly, reconciliation of supporters of two different approaches to the integration. [12]

This principle is set as one of the fundamental principles of the EU, which allows to extend the activities of the Union, if circumstances require so, and conversely to limit them, if its no longer justified. Following Amsterdam treaty didn’t specify the rules of application of the principles but the main thing was that its subsidiarity principle is limited to the distribution of powers between the Member States and institutions of the Union.

And issues concerning the application of the principle within the boundaries of the participating countries are left to their discretion. As the principle of subsidiarity applies to all the EU institutions, the Lisbon Treaty has strengthened the role of both the national parliaments and the Court of Justice in monitoring with this principle. [13]

From its beginning the instigator of this concept was the European Parliament in adopting the draft TEU, proposing that in the case where the Union competence was concurrent with that of the Member States, the Member States could act as long as the Union had not legislated.

Also it stressed the ability of Community to carry out only those tasks which could be undertaken more effectively in common than by individual States. [14] This principle is not only about the devolution of power from the EC level downward but also from national governments down to the local and regional level. So that it has the potential to reconnect people with their power.

Another principle of legal certainty has been applied in more specific terms as the principle of legitimate expectations and the principle of non-retroactivity. [15] This principle is a part of Community Law and should be respected by Community Institutions and Member States. An essence of it is in protection of citizens against a threat that comes from the law and insecurity created by law’.[16]

According to Damian Chalmers in his book ‘European Union Law’, the principle of legal certainty has at least two dimensions. The first one is a prohibition against retroactivity, which means that a measure must not take effect prior to its publication. The second dimension is that of clarity. It enables EU law’s subjects to know their rights and obligations. [17]

The principle of equality before the law is another general principle within a legal system of the EU. As example, Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany guarantees, all individuals shall be equal before the law, so men and women shall have equal rights. The general principle of equality also considers that no one may enjoy preferences because of their sex, race, language, religion or political beliefs. [18]

Therefore it can be understood that persons in similar situations are not to be treated differently unless the difference in treatment is justified objectively. In this case the question of discrimination can be seen as example, as it exist only within a framework where its possible to compare. Article 12 of EC Treaty prohibits any kind of discrimination on the grounds of nationality, sex and provides for equal pay for equal work.

A general principle of law is a significant concept for French administrative and German public law. But the legal systems and the approach to the general principles of law are different. In case of France only until the early 70-ies the only institution, which relied upon general principles, was the Conseil d’Etat. Such principles as the protection of individual rights and liberties, equality before the law, non-retroactivity, judicial protection and etc have been recognized as general principles of law in France but such principles as the principle of proportionality are debated.[19]

Along with main fundamental rights, the Conseil has included also the right of privacy, the freedom of commerce and enterprise. The feature of French public law is that it has developed two concepts of principles: general principles of administrative law and fundamental principles recognized by the laws of the Republic. [20] The EU law has influence and its twofold.

Firstly, the general principles of European law must be applied to national courts and secondly, new principles via community law may influence the discourse of both legislators and the courts regarding their domestic issues. General principles of law also recognized in German public law. The role of principles has clarified by Bundesverfassungsgericht in constitutional law and laid down in the Art.

Constitutional principles serve promotive and controlling function, where promotive means guidance in legislative and executive decision-making and controlling function is when the courts are interpreting and applying the law in general. [21] The concept of general principles of law is regarded as significant German contributions to legal cultures of the European Union. And the principle of proportionality and Vertrauensschutz or the protection of legitimate expectations has inspired the ECJs jurisprudence.

There are many benefits in regards to the general principles of law, as all the different member states are always on guard to keep a balance of power. On the other hand, member states have accepted the supremacy of the EJC. But if general principles are made for the people of the EU then giving more supremacy to the EJC seems as a good perspective.

 


 

[1] Право европейского союза. Новый этап эволювии 2009, 2017 годы. Л.М. Энтин. М.: Изд.во “Аксиом”, 2009. Стр. 27 http://www.eurocollege.ru/fileserver/books/esi-library5.pdf

[2] Принципы права Европейского союза. Дронь Т.Н., студ. Филиала РГСУ.г. Минск. Науч. Рук. Проф. Пастухов М.И.д.р юр. Наук. Стр.82 http://elib.bsu.by/bitstream/123456789/47172/1/dron_2012_sbornik8_tom1.pdf

[3] EU law. Josephine Steiner, Lorna Woods, Christian Twigg-Flesner. Oxford university press. 9th edition. 2006 page 115

[4] The role of the Principle of effective judicial protection in the Eu and its impact on national jurisdictions. Ph.d in EU law Linda Maria Ravo. University of Trieste. Page 102. http://www.openstarts.units.it/dspace/bitstream/10077/8192/1/ravo.pdf

[5] Charter on findamental rights of EU. 2010. Official Journal of the EU. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:083:0389:0403:EN:PDF

[6]Charter on findamental rights of EU. 2010. Official Journal of the EU. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:083:0389:0403:EN:PDF

[7]Principle of proportionality. http://detention-in-europe.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=174&Itemid=216

[8] The principle of proportionality. Van Benthem & Keulen. http://www.echamp.eu/news/newsletter/newsletter-archive/2009/aprilmay/the-principle-of-proportionality.html

[9] Treaty on European Community. 1957. Article 5. http://lawvolumes.dwp.gov.uk/docs/a9-1001.pdf

[10]The role of proportionality in the law of international countermeasures. Enzo Cannizzaro. 2001. Vol. 12 No.5, page 889. http://ejil.oxfordjournals.org/content/12/5/889.full.pdf p

[11]Subsidiarity and Soverignty in the European Union. Paul D. Marquardt. Fordham International Law journal. Volume 18, Issue 2. 1994. Article 7. Page 625 http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1414&context=ilj

[12]Динамика развития принципа субсидиарности в Европейском союзе. Гомцян С.В. Вестник Международных организаций. 2007. #6(14) стр 58 http://ecsocman.hse.ru/data/2011/05/06/1268030679/dinamika_razvitia.pdf

[13] The principle of subsidiarity. Fact Sheets on the European Union. 2014. Page 2. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ftu/pdf/en/FTU_1.2.2.pdf

[14] ibid page 3

[15] EU law. Josephine Steiner, Lorna Woods, Christian Twigg-Flesner. Oxford university press. 9th edition. 2006 page 130

[16]The principle of legal certainty basis for the rule of law, landmark case-law. Ion Predescu, Marieta Safta. Page 3 http://www.ccr.ro/ccrold/publications/buletin/8/predescuen.pdf

[17] European Union law: texr and materials. Damian Chalmers, Gareth Davies, Giorgio Monti. Chanmbridge University Press, 2014. Page 441 http://books.google.ge/books?id=GjuNAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA441&lpg=PA441&dq=the+principle+of+legitimate+expectations+eu+law&source=bl&ots=q0ITf3QgrQ&sig=Z0UqGgb2SIN6n-1zNQ-pQYNEUi0&hl=ru&sa=X&ei=KQAPVPfCA8jvPJDWgbgH&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=the%20principle%20of%20legitimate%20expectations%20eu%20law&f=false

[18] Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany. http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_gg/englisch_gg.html

[19] General principles as sources of law in the major contemporary legal systems. Dobrinka Taskovska. Iustianus primus law review. Vol. 1:1 page 3 http://www.law-review.mk/pdf/01/Dobrinka%20Taskovska.pdf

[20] ibid

[21] ibid page 4

The European Parliament Doesn’t Represent the People of Europe and Hence Lacks Legitimacy

European Parliament is one of the main law-making institutions of the EU, along with the Council of the EU. It has three main roles: together with the Council, debating and passing European laws; scrutinizing EU institutions to make sure they are working democratically; and with the Council, debating and adopting the EU’s budget. [1] After the Lisbon Treaty entered into force in 2009, the European Parliament has become increasingly powerful. And with the Lisbon Treaty, national parliaments acquired more say over EU laws. But the European Union has failed to fulfill its functions to ensure the democratic legitimacy of the EU, in other words, the EP fails to represent its electorate.

There exist such variation of legitimacy as political legitimacy, which generally emphasizes the popular justification of the right of institutions to govern, maintain authority and exercise political power within the state.[2] Following this, legitimacy can be described as an instrument of social consent that brings power into existence within the political structure of a state. [3] Speaking broadly, the state-institution is a theoretical model of legitimacy, thus the identification of the degree of legitimacy of an institution, allows us to analyze the legitimacy of the entire state.

According to Beetham & Lord there are two fundamental approaches to legitimacy identification: direct and indirect legitimacy. The direct legitimacy or known as ‘legitimacy by the people’, lies on the degree of appreciation of the EU by the European public, in which the electorate is able to choose by voting.[4] This type of legitimacy proposes as a solution for inefficiency of legitimacy, two institutional models: parliamentarian and presidential.

In a multi-national EU, the presidential model is less likely to be developed. In its turn the parliamentarian model gives the growing importance of the European Parliament as the only political body in the EU system which is directly-elected. Concerning this, Berthold Rittberger in his work ‘Debating the democratic legitimacy of the EU’ points out that parliamentarisation is an important remedy to the lack of EU legitimacy because parliaments provide the linkage between civil society and government. [5]

Another approach, the indirect legitimacy proposes to view the EU legitimacy as domestically authorized by the authority of member states rather than European citizenry.[6] A logical equilibrium between these two approaches to the problem of legitimization of the EU is a ‘double-sided’ approach, which coexists successfully in Germany. But the main drawback is the identification of the European nation or European demos.

Its very noticeable that during the period from 1992 to 1995 the percent of the EU citizens who identified themselves as nationals of their member states and European was very high, more than 40%. [7] However, since 1996 the situation has changed with shifting of European public towards the nationality only, which creates the deficit of democracy in the European Union.

The concept of legitimacy, at the level of the EU is illustrated with the EU Parliament, therefore the legitimacy can be defined as the recognition of political system by the citizens. [8] However, the experience has shown that the European Parliament doesn’t guarantee the EU’s democratic legitimacy. First of all, it has failed to convince voters as the turnout in EP elections has fallen from 46% in 2004 to 43% in 2009.[9]

Secondly, the European Parliament couldn’t mobilise voters around issues handled by the EU and so the people who vote do it on national political issues over which the EU exercise little control. Another drawback is voter’s unawareness of the existence of political groups in the Parliament that shows a lack of a clear democratic mandate and the problematic nature of the Parliament. In 2014, overall, the EU average turnout has grown by only 0.09%.[10]

One of explanations why EP elections fail to attract the same degree of interest as national ones is that they don’t determine the composition of government and that means their political outcome is less visible, thus there is no obvious political direction of Europe for European electors. [11] And moreover, such spheres as health care, law, pensions, social security and taxation, which are crucial for the people, are controlled by national governments and don’t fall under the jurisdiction of the EU.

The issues, which fall under the competence of EU such as monetary policy, single market and competition, simply inspire voter’s apathy. Of course above structural problems, the behavior of the EP undermines it as a body or institution, which is not concentrated on people of Europe. Member of the Parliament are focused on driving European integration and therefore increase their own power and thus how policy effectiveness suffer.

La raison d’etre or the reason for existence of the EP is to increase the EU powers. For instance, in the case of the 2011 EU budget, the EP parliament pushed for more spending than most national governments want. [12]

The problem of EP legitimacy can be seen in the degree of insufficient representation and effectiveness of institution. EP still doesn’t posses the power to create laws, but Amsterdam Treaty gives the EP power to block any unpleasant legislation, thus the EP became more powerful than it was in 1994. [13] So we cant agree with statements that the EP lost its power. Additionally, the EP often seems out of step with its electorate, what was clearly noted in the aftermath of the French and Dutch ‘No’ votes to the European constitution in 2005.

It was noted that the Parliament, including French and Dutch members, voted to approve the EU constitution, only to find that the voters seemed to disagree. [14] The German constitutional court ruling on the Lisbon treaty of 30th June 2009 was an important milestone in the debates of the democratic failings of the EP. It argued and made clear that the EP is not a body of representation of a sovereign European people. [15] Its argumentation was based on the view that, the number of seats per country doesn’t match populations, as smaller countries have more seats, so the EP’s make-up is not democratic.

Exists one argument that the EP is badly represented, and in institution itself both political and social essences of representation are presented not adequately. It’s already clear that political representation is evaluated through the activities of the members of the Parliament.

Social representation is weak in the EP and fails to be a fully legitimate, therefore the weakness of both essences of representation are cause by the absence of a common electoral system at the level of the EU. [16] Such universal electoral system would give a clear view to the European public on how are elected the members of the parliament and how they govern, which will lead to increase in knowledge of internal structure of the EP and its external effectiveness. Thus a public would be able to evaluate the legislative powers.



 

[1]How the EU works. European Parliament. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/european-parliament/index_en.htm

[2] Andrei M.Muntean. The European Parliament’s Political Legitimacy and the Commission’s ‘Misleading Management’: Towards a “parliamentarian”EU? Vol.4 (2000) num. 5. Page 1http://eiop.or.at/eiop/pdf/2000-005.pdf

[3] ibid

[4] Ibid page 2

[5] Beate Kohler-Koch, Berthold Rittberger. Debating the democratic legitimacy of the European Union. Rowman&Littlefield ed. 2007 pge 104. http://books.google.lv/books?id=wgHfdYqoHy4C&pg=PA105&dq=european+parliament+lack+legitimacy&hl=lv&sa=X&ei=FNwnVMPlGMfMyAO1vILYBw&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=european%20parliament%20lack%20legitimacy&f=false

[6] Andrei M.Muntean. The European Parliament’s Political Legitimacy and the Commission’s ‘Misleading Management’: Towards a “parliamentarian”EU? Vol.4 (2000) num. 5. Page 2 http://eiop.or.at/eiop/pdf/2000-005.pdf

[7] Ibid page 3

[8]The problem of ‘democratic deficit’ in the European union. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science. Vil.1 No. 5; May 2011. Page 248. http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol._1_No._5%3B_May_2011/27.pdf

[9] Anand Menon and John Peet. Beyond the European Parliament: Rethinking the EU’s legitimacy. Centre for European Reform. December 2010. Page 3 http://www.cer.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/attachments/pdf/2011/essay_parliament_peet_menon_dec10-179.pdf

[10] The European Politics Blog. The 2014 European elections turout: achievement or failure? http://www.euspeak.eu/the-2014-european-elections-turnout-achievement-or-failure/

[11] Anand Menon and John Peet. Beyond the European Parliament: Rethinking the EU’s legitimacy. Centre for European Reform. December 2010. Page 4 http://www.cer.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/attachments/pdf/2011/essay_parliament_peet_menon_dec10-179.pdf

[12] Ibid page 5

[13] Andrei M.Muntean. The European Parliament’s Political Legitimacy and the Commission’s ‘Misleading Management’: Towards a “parliamentarian”EU? Vol.4 (2000) num. 5. Page 5 http://eiop.or.at/eiop/pdf/2000-005.pdf

[14] Charlemangne. ‘Those Ozymandian moments”, the Econmist, June 11th 2005. http://www.economist.com/node/4055221

[15] Anand Menon and John Peet. Beyond the European Parliament: Rethinking the EU’s legitimacy. Centre for European Reform. December 2010. Page 6 http://www.cer.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/attachments/pdf/2011/essay_parliament_peet_menon_dec10-179.pdf

[16]Andrei M.Muntean. The European Parliament’s Political Legitimacy and the Commission’s ‘Misleading Management’: Towards a “parliamentarian”EU? Vol.4 (2000) num. 5. Page 8 http://eiop.or.at/eiop/pdf/2000-005.pdf

How the European Court of Justice Invents Law?

A central to the broader process of European integration has been the growth of European law. The European Court of Justice sees the clearest manifestation of the transfer of sovereignty from nation-states to supranational institutions in the accretion of power. The ECJ is seen as a strategic actor, who is master of its own destiny or servant of national governments, what leads to one common assumption that its sensitive to the preferences of EU member governments. [1]

The Court of Justice of the EU comprises 3 courts: the Court of Justice, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal, the task of which is to review the legality of acts of institutions and to ensure the interpretation and application of EU law. This institution is composed of 28 judges and 8 advocates general, who are appointed for a 6 years term. A General Court mainly deals with cases relating to competition law and private individuals or companies, while the Civil Service Tribunal rules on disputes between the EU and its stuff. [2]

slide_3In its turn, the Court has clearly defined jurisdiction, proceedings and actions. As the Court of Justice closely cooperates with all national courts of the Member States, they must sometimes refer to the Court of Justice to clarify the interpretation of EU law, in order to be sure that their national legislation complies with the law.[3] Mostly the Court gives an opinion in the form of a judgment or order, so thus through references for preliminary rulings any citizen of EU or national court can seek clarification of rules, which affect him.

There are also various types of actions, such as actions for failure to fulfill obligations, actions for annulment, actions for failure to act. Actions for failure to fulfill obligations enable the Court of Justice to check and determine if a member state fulfills tis obligations under EU law. [4]But if the country is found guilty, then the Court may impose financial penalty.

An action for annulment states that any EU country, the Council, the Commission or Parliament that believes that any of EU laws is illegal, may ask the Court to annul it. [5] This action also refers to individuals, citizens of EU. And an actions for failure to act means that if Parliament, the Council and the Commission fails to make decision, then member countries or institutions have a possibility to complaint. [6]

Another important thing to mention about is the Court of Justice procedure, which always consists of written stage and oral stage, which is public. Here we need to draw a distinction between references for preliminary rulings and direct actions. In case of preliminary rulings, the national court to the Court of Justice submits the questions and when the request has been translated into all languages of the EU, the Registry notifies the parties and Member states, so they have two month to submit any written observations to the Court of Justice.[7]

In direct actions, all actions are brought to Registry, which publishes applicant’s claims and arguments in the Official Journal of the European Union. [8] At the same time, the application should be defensed in a lodge within one month. The next step in procedure is to state, within three weeks, why parties wish an oral argument to be held.

There also exist special forms of procedure. In simplified procedure, if a question for a preliminary ruling is the same to a question that has already been requested to rule by the Court, then after gearing the Advocate General, the Court may refer to the previous judgment. [9] The expedited procedure enables the Court to give its rulings quickly and even more quickly with sensitive issues relating to the area of freedom, security and justice.

preliminary-ruling-procedure-eu-law-6-638

I would like to mention also about the sources of EC law that have been divided into the categories of primary law, secondary law and case law. The case law as a source of EU law stresses the authority of ECJ decisions and authority of EC law in general. [10] Mentioning case law as a tool of the Court of Justice, through it, the Court has identified an obligation on administrations and national courts to apply EU law within their sphere of competence, also to protect the rights of citizens and to disapply any conflicting national provision. [11] As the Court also works in conjunction with the national courts, the court must give its interpretation of a rule of EU law. Thus as case law develops, it illustrates how the Court’s contribution creates a legal environment for citizens by protecting their rights.

sources-of-eu-law-revision-notes-2-638

Starting with Van Gend & Loos transport company case in 1963, the Court in its case-law, introduced the principle of the direct effect of Community law in member states, which means that EU citizens rely on rules of EU law before their national courts. [12] Another case was in 1964, the Costa judgment which established the primacy of Community law over domestic.

The whole concept of this case was that as national Italian court had asked the Court of Justice if the Italian law on nationalization of production and distribution of electrical energy was compatible with rules in the EEC treaty, thus the Court introduced the doctrine of the primacy of Community law which is to be applied to all the member states. [13]

In 1991, the Court developed another fundamental concept, in a case of Andrea Francovich and Others v. Italian Republich, the result of which was called the Frencovich principle of state liability. In this case in the field of employment rights, workers brought a claim before their national courts for compensation for the damage they suffered due to failure of Member states to secure their protection. [14]

Thus the Court opened up the possibility of an action for damages against the State itself. So the ECJ stipulates that national procedures should determine how state liability is enforced and the procedure for claiming damages from the state before national court must comply with two principles: equivalence and effectiveness. [15] As long as these two principles are respected, the member states can prescribe their own procedures for claims.

Of course, without the ECJ there would be no way of enforcing the obligations of the European Treaties and in the areas of its jurisdiction all EU citizens have equal rights and such benefits as the free movement of goods. But exists several imperfections such us supremacy of EU law over national law and the ECJ as imposer of European standards simply challenges a nation’s traditional legal practices.

For all its drawbacks, the EU legal order makes an invaluable contribution towards solving the political, economic and social problems of the member states, thus in my opinion creation of one legal order on the EU scale may prevent the Union from the collapse of the legal order as a whole. In this case, I think, the uniform and priority application of Union law in all member states can only be guaranteed by the two cornerstones: the direct applicability of Union law and the primacy of Union law over national law.

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[1]The European Court of Justice, National Governments and Legal Integration in the EU. Geoffrey Garrett, R. Daniel Kelemen and Heiner Schulz. International Organisation 52,1, Winter 1998, page 150 http://www.seep.ceu.hu/alpsa/articles/garrett.pdf?origin=publication_detail

[2] Court of Justice of the EU. How the EU works. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/court-justice/index_en.htm

[3] The Court of Justice. Composition, jurisdiction and procedures. December 2010.ed. http://www.ab.gov.tr/files/ardb/evt/1_avrupa_birligi/1_2_kurumlar/Court_of_Justice.pdf

[4] ibid

[5] Court of Justice of the EU. How the EU works. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/court-justice/index_en.htm

[6] ibid

[7] The Court of Justice. CVRIA presentation. http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/Jo2_7024/

[8] Ibid

[9] The Court of Justice. Composition, jurisdiction and procedures. December 2010.ed. http://www.ab.gov.tr/files/ardb/evt/1_avrupa_birligi/1_2_kurumlar/Court_of_Justice.pdf

[10] The Principle of legal Certainty in EC law. J. Raition. Springer Science& Business Media,2003. ISSN 1572-4395. Page 88 http://books.google.lv/books?id=tpzr1SlsGzIC&pg=PA88&dq=case+law+ecj&hl=lv&sa=X&ei=y2sdVKjbBebiywO_24KoAw&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=case%20law%20ecj&f=false

[11]The Court of Justice. CVRIA presentation. http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/Jo2_7024/

[12] The Principle of legal Certainty in EC law. J. Raition. Springer Science& Business Media,2003. ISSN 1572-4395. Page 106 http://books.google.lv/books?id=tpzr1SlsGzIC&pg=PA88&dq=case+law+ecj&hl=lv&sa=X&ei=y2sdVKjbBebiywO_24KoAw&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=case%20law%20ecj&f=false

[13] The Court of Justice. CVRIA presentation. http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/Jo2_7024/

[14] Francovich principle. Eurofound. http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/areas/industrialrelations/dictionary/definitions/francovichprinciple.htm

[15] Ibid

The European Union as an ‘Undemocratic Organisation’. Deficit of Democracy in the Functioning of the EU Institutions

Today, in liberal democratic countries, institutions of political power must be legitimized by the people in order to function competently at both national and international levels. One of the common ways of legitimizing political power is the organisation of democratic elections throughout society representatives in certain institutions that can delegate authority to other levels. And general function of the EU is to create, implement laws and regulations that can integrate the member states of the EU.

There are five main institutions which exercise the functions of the Union and involved in law making: the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice.[1] Also there are two additional bodies, such as the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Firstly, I would like to describe the main functions of these institutions.

The European Council exercises a role in revision of the treaties and changes in EU policy. The Council is a policy making body of the Community and most of its decisions are based on the Commission’s proposals. It had twofold role in setting the EU’s general political direction and priorities and in dealing with issues that cannot be resolved at intergovernmental level.[2] This body is influential in setting a political agenda of the EU but has no power in passing laws. Decisions in the European Council are adopted by unanimity or by qualified majority but most of all the Council decides by consensus, depending what the Treaty provides. Additionally, functions of the Council include the discussion of major differences between member states on key issues. [3]

The European Commission drafts proposals for new European laws and its purpose is to represent the interests of the EU as a whole. Among its functions are proposition of new laws and the enforcement of European Law. The Commission had a right of initiative only on issues that can’t be dealt at local level. [4] Adoption or rejection of a new law must be in accord with Commissioners. There are 28 Commissioners and if at least 14 of them are agree then the draft is sent to the Council and Parliament. Also, the Commission checks correctness of applying law to each member country. And if a member is not following the EU law then the Commission is able to take it to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The Council of the European Union or Council of Ministers can be surely called as the main player in EU law making. This body has the final say in whether legislative proposals will become EU law or not. It takes decisions by a simple majority or unanimous vote. The Council consists of national ministers from each EU country and the composition of it is fluid.

Along with the Council of the EU, European Parliament is one of the EU’s main law-making institutions. The process of Parliament working together with Council on content of EU laws is called ‘Ordinary legislative procedure’.[5] Under the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament was granted more power to influence the content of laws in such areas as agriculture, energy policy, immigration and EU funds. Also, Parliament has influence over European institutions, by approving nominee or rejecting.

The European Court of Justice functions are to interpret EU law and to make sure that its applied in the same correct way in all EU members. Additionally, it settles legal disputes between EU governments and institutions.[6] The Court has one judge for each EU country and advocates-general present opinions on the cases that are brought before the Court. In order to help the Court with a large number of cases, a General Court takes cases that are brought forward by private individuals or organizations and cases relating to competition law.

To me, democracy is inequality in an imaginary equality. Idea of democracy places a seed of trust in the little guy making him believe that anyone can grow up to be a president and if you are not grown enough you still can be vice president. If democracy is equality, then it means that people have a right to take what they deserve.

In my opinion, this is last point where the democratic circle closes, because when you take what you deserve, or fight for what you deserve, you keep other weaker people from getting what they deserve. Tracing back to common understanding of democracy, all the constitutional states are considered to be democratic and democracy is based on the principle of the people’s sovereignty.

Following this logic, people are the source of the state authority which has a right to determine the content of law-making and the activity of legitimate bodies. According to European Policy Brief, the recommendations which were proposed by European Convention for European Institutions to be brought closer to the citizens, were not followed.[7] As Abraham Lincoln mentioned in his Gettysburg address, a government is “of the people, by the people, for the people”. [8] According to these principles, there is equal access to power and being equal before the law.

In the beginning of my essay, I mentioned about EU institutions, their functions and the interesting fact is that, of first four institutions, the only one directly elected is the European Parliament, having 736 members which are elected every 5 years and in each member state, citizens have the right to vote. The European Council consists of the head of state and the Council of the EU consists of representatives who have been selected by the citizens of their own country rather than to those which they must perform within the supra-nation sphere. [9] In doing so, they undermine the democratic nature of their appointment.

In contrast, the Commission is represented as an unelected body which consists of persons who are nominated by each member state and not elected by its citizens. Also exists the fact that the European Council with heads of the 28 governments has the power to propose nominees and the EU Parliament has no right to name any candidate and only to suggest laws which the Council accepts or not.[10] Summing up, it comes that the ordinary EU voter simple has no influence over any legislation or even who should be in EU government.

Also, in order to determine the EU’s democratic nature, must to consider the legislative process which varies according to the nature of the laws that are proposed. According to the Article 294 TFEU, firstly the Commission must submit a legislative proposal to the Parliament and the Council with the Parliament must determine their position on the act. [11] It’s quite obvious that member states prefer to implement acts because in this case they can influence the final shape of the act through the committees where sit their experts.

But on the other hand, as EU-observer corresponds, delegated acts can be adopted without interference. [12] The decisions has to be done in a certain timeframe and its not easy to see when the commission has made these decisions. European Parliament held the power of veto in the adoption of legislation and this made it very powerful in Union’s legislature.[13] However, the role of Commission in providing law-making is criticized as the members of the body are unelected.

Overall, it’s clear that the EU tries to promote ideals of democracy through the principles of equality, however its impossible to state that it has achieved this goal. The European Union and its Treaties have intention to create laws for people but the structures of its institutions prevent these laws from being for the people. Its very naïve to think that someday the ideal of democracy would be achieved but to stabilize the current deficit of democracy through reconstruction of institutions must be in priority.

 


 

[1] EU institutions and law making. European Union law for International Business: An introduction. Bernard Bishop. Cambridge University Press. Page 4 http://assets.cambridge.org/97805218/81449/excerpt/9780521881449_excerpt.pdf

[2] European Council. How the EU works. Institutions, bodies and agencies. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/european-council/index_en.htm

[3] EU institutions and law making. European Union law for International Business: An introduction. Bernard Bishop. Cambridge University Press. Page 6 http://assets.cambridge.org/97805218/81449/excerpt/9780521881449_excerpt.pdf

[4] European Commission. How the EU works. Institutions, bodies and agencies. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/european-commission/index_en.htm

[5] European Parliament. How the EU works. Institutions, bodies and agencies. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/european-parliament/index_en.htm

[6] Court of Justice of the European Union. How the EU works. Institutions, bodies and agencies. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/court-justice/index_en.htm

[7] Legitimacy and the European Union. Future EU. Opinions. http://www.euractiv.com/future-eu/legitimacy-european-union/article-128511

[8] The Gettysburg Address. Speeches and writings. Abraham Lincoln Online. http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm

[9] The EU’s institutional structure and the institutions. The Law Professionals. http://www.lawteacher.net/european-law/essays/the-european-unions-law-making-powers-make-the-eu-inherently-undemocratic-european-law-essay.php

[10] The European Parliament election: an undemocratic joke. http://thebackbencher.co.uk/european-parliamentary-election-undemocratic-joke/

[11] The Lisbon Treaty. Article 294. http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-the-functioning-of-the-european-union-and-comments/part-6-institutional-and-financial-provisions/title-1-institutional-provisions/chapter-2-legal-acts-of-the-union-adoption-procedures-and-other-provisions/section-2-procedures-for-the-adoption-of-acts-and-other-provisions/614-article-294.html

[12] Complex EU law-making dubbed ‘infernal, undemocratic’. http://euobserver.com/political/119181

[13] The EU’s institutional structure and the institutions. The Law Professionals. http://www.lawteacher.net/european-law/essays/the-european-unions-law-making-powers-make-the-eu-inherently-undemocratic-european-law-essay.php

The Conflict Between Iran and Israel: Why is it so Difficult to Reach an Agreement?

                                                   

All last time the Arab-Israeli conflict was discussed by politicians, political analysts, journalists far from the reality of the context. In their opinion, the key problems are: the problem of the borders between Israel and inhabited by the Arabs of the territories of Judea and Samaria, the status of the Golan Heights and the problem of the Arab refugees.

However (and it is) a brutal conflict began long before the creation of the State of Israel and to the problem of refugees, when the first Jewish immigrants settled in nobody lands of Palestine or land lawfully acquired from their owners. Jews started their development and each of their success attracted Palestine and another group of Arabs in search for work. It was at that time began cruel massacre of the most famous, but not the only and exclusive, became a massacre in Hebron[1], 19 years before the creation of the State of Israel. The massacre was accompanied by mass killings.

War with its Arab neighbors after the proclamation of the State of Israel continued, not because of disagreements over the borders. Openly proclaimed the goal of aggression was not just preventing the creation of a Jewish state as such, but the “final solution” – the extermination of the Jews from Palestine. For a smooth implementation of this task, the Arab leaders have offered all Arabs to leave the territory, on which were planned mass murder that they “won’t be underfoot” during the planned mass murder of Jews[2].

They were promised that they then will return to “liberated” territory and returned to their lands and property together with the land and property of the Jews. The plan originated the problem of Arab refugees. And today the most outspoken Arab leaders say that their ultimate goal is not to establish acceptable to the borders with Israel but the elimination of the state of Israel and throughout the Jewish presence in Palestine.

And even so-called “moderate” leaders of the Palestinian Arabs, as Mahmoud Abbas[3], consider unthinkable accommodation with Jews, even a single Jew in the Arab state, which is planned to be built in Judea and Samaria.

Many researches have been made to identify what is going on with Israel and its neighbour Iran, but anyway everything is confined in the history of these countries.


Historical roots

History of the Jewish people originates about 4000 years ago (17-th century BC) from the epoch of the patriarchs – Abraham, his son Isaac, and grandson Jacob[4]. In Mesopotamia were founded the documents relating to 2000-1500 years BC, which confirm that the Jews in those days, had a nomadic life, as described in the Bible.

The Book of Genesis tells how Abraham was sent from the Sumerian city of Ur in the land of Canaan, to initiate a nation which believes in one God. In the Torah, Pentateuch of Moses, which is the Holy book of the Jews, Christians and recognized by the Muslims, Ismail, Isaac, and Jacob are not just sons of the prophet, but the ancestors of the whole peoples.

The first son of Abraham was Ishmael, born of the maid Hagar which was Egyptian. Hagar despised her barren mistress Sarah what causes a dislike and prosecution in relation to herself and her son. And the Lord gives Sarah a blood child, which was to inherit God’s promise, Isaac. For this child of Hagar and her son Ishmael was necessary to expel.

From here begins the story of the descendants of Ishmael-the Arabs and the descendants of Isaac-Israelis. Remote together with his mother in the wilderness of Paran, Ishmael grew in freedom, married on Egyptian woman [5], and of him there came twelve sons[6], who became the ancestors of the small Bedouin tribes who conquered the desert, lying between Canaan and Egypt (Sinai Peninsula). Local Arabs attributed its descent to Ishmael, and even the genealogy of Muhammad dates back to him.

According to the Bible, son of Isaac, Esau sold his birthright to his brother James for a mess of pottage. From the times of Abraham birthright was very important because the first-Born son was endowed with greater rights and authority than the younger which must be subordinated to the senior.

Dying Isaac blessed Jacob instead of the eldest son Esau, who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Esau hated brother and even wanted to kill him, so that Jacob had to go away from their family. On the advice of his parents, he went to Mesopotamia, the land of Babel. And Lord God, under some mysterious circumstances after having experienced the power of Jacob, gave him a new name “Israel”, which means “struggled with God”[7]. And Jacob and his 12 sons became the founders of the nation of Israel, or Jewish nation. Since those times the enmity between Israelis and Arabs continued.

To more deeply understand the reasons for disagreement, I decided to learn a little more about those lands that were populated by the descendants of Jacob and Ishmael.

The Bible describes that Jacob lived in the land of his father’s travelling, in the land of Canaan. In biblical times, it was a country that stretches to the West from the North-West bend of Euphrates and from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. Currently is divided between Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan.[8]

As for Ishmael, the same States that the descendants of Ishmael lived from Havil to Sura[9] , i.e. in the Western and Northern parts of the Peninsula of Arabia, spreading through the wilderness to the Persian Gulf[10], introducing the core of the Arab people. The Arabs have always been enemies of their Israeli brethren, spread to the East and West and currently they remained unconquered, and only certain parts of their country for a short time were under foreign power.

The first king of Israel was David who gave the Board to his son Solomon. During the reign of Solomon, the Jewish nation was divided into Israel and Judah. The Kingdom of Israel, with its capital in the city of Samaria lasted more than two centuries and survived 19 kings. Judah and Jerusalem as its capital lasted 400 years, and it was ruled by the same number of monarchs – the descendants of King David.[11]

But with the expansion by the Assyrian and Babylonian Empire, Israel and Judah appeared in the hands of foreigners. The ruins of Babylon are localized in Iraq near the town of al-Hilla, Babil governorate. Euphrates River divides the monument into two parts – Western and Eastern. [12]

Over the next four centuries Jews have experienced different periods of self-government under the rule of the Persians (538-333 years BC to BCE), and then fell under the power of Hellenists (the Ptolemy’s and the Seleucids 332-142 years BC).[13] After the conquest of the ancient world by Alexander the Great (332 BC) in the Land “of promise” preserved Jewish theocratic state under the rule of the Seleucid Syria.

Also there was the conquest of Persia by Alexander (now Iran). Darius king of the Persians, with his friends escaped from Ekbatan in Eastern Iran, where he was killed by Bactrian Satrap.[14] Persian state ceased to exist, and all its possessions became part of the Empire of Alexander.

In 19th century medieval backwardness began to recede before the first signs of progress. For spheres of influence in the region fought many Western powers, often through missionary activity. Gradually improved the position of Jews in the country, and their number constantly began to grow.

In December 1917 in Jerusalem entered the British troops under the command of General Allenby, putting an end to the age-old domination of the Ottoman Empire. In July 1922, the League of Nations granted Great Britain a mandate over Palestine (so then called the Land of Israel).[15] Recognizing the historical connection of the Jewish people to their land, Britain promoted the creation of Jewish national home in Eretz Israel (in Hebrew – “the Land of Israel”).

The authorities of the British mandate granted the Jewish and Arab communities to manage their internal Affairs. But the Jewish national revival and the efforts of communities to build their country encountered fierce resistance of the Arab nationalists. Efforts to enter into a dialogue with the Arabs, taken at the dawn of the Zionist movement, led to nothing and only have increased the gap between Zionism and Arab nationalism, which at any moment could create an explosive situation.

Recognizing radically opposing goals of these two nationalist movements, the British recommended in 1937 to divide the country into two States, Jewish and Arab.[16] The Jewish leaders accepted the idea of separation and authorized the Jewish Agency to enter into negotiations with the British government to discuss various aspects of the proposal.

The Arabs, on the other hand, were strongly opposed to any partition plan. The continuing Arab riots forced the British to publish the White book, which imposed strict restrictions on the entry of Jews into the country. On November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly voted for recommendation to divide the territory into two parts, Jewish and Arab.[17]

 

 Differences: Iran and Israel


The difference between two countries is not only in the territory they inhabit, but also can cause such differences as a governmental structure of each state, religion and economy.

Governmental structure

The symbol and the foundation of the existence of the state of Israel is the Declaration of independence. In the Declaration is justified historical necessity of the rebirth of Israel and the agreed principles of existence of a Jewish and democratic state based on freedom, justice and peace, as it was bequeathed to the biblical prophets. It also calls for peace with the neighboring Arab States in the name of development and prosperity to the entire region.

Israel is a parliamentary democracy consisting of Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches. There is the institution of the presidency, the Knesset (Parliament), the executive (Cabinet of Ministers) and the judiciary.[18] The President’s duties are mostly ceremonial and formal in nature and are defined in the law. Among them – opening of the first session of the new convocation of the Knesset; specifying a member of the Knesset to form a new government; receiving the credentials of foreign envoys; signing treaties and laws adopted by the Knesset.

In Israel there is a system of universal, direct national elections. Elections are secret and conducted on an equitable and proportional basis. The entire country constitutes a single constituency, and all citizens who are 18 years old, have the right to vote. In all the elections that were held, voted 77 to 90 percent of the registered voters, this means that the majority of the Israelites are concerned to the external and internal policy of their country. [19]

According to Constitution of 1979, Iran is an Islamic Republic. Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) was founded on 1 April 1979 as a result of the Islamic revolution of 1978-1979.[20] Iran is one of the few real theocracies in the world. Constitutionally was fixed rule of not only the Islamic principles in the organization of the legislative, Executive and judiciary, but the rule of the Islamic clergy in the structures of state power.

The embodiment of monopolization of the clergy of political power was those powers which granted to the Rahba (head) – the head of the country.[21] The spiritual leader is recognized faqih – religious man of law. Rahba controls the activities of all branches of power.

Defines the main directions of internal and foreign policy, appoints the head of the judiciary; the commander of the armed forces and internal troops, the commander of the army of the guardians of the Islamic revolution, signed the decree on appointment of the President, who is elected by means of universal, direct and secret ballot. He has the right to declare war and conclude peace, declare Amnesty or commutation of the sentence at the proposal of the head of the judiciary.

According to the Constitution, the highest after the spiritual leader of the state is the President. The President as head of the country represents Iran on the official level, especially in relations with foreign States. According to the Constitution of 1979, the Foundation of all the sides of life of Iran was based on the principles of Islam.[22] So to manage the country could exceptionally well-versed in Islam face – Ulema.

Religion

Jewish society in Israel today consists of religious and non-religious population – from ultra-orthodox to citizens leading completely secular lifestyle.[23] Nevertheless, between them there is no clear difference. But Israel was conceived as a Jewish state, and so the Sabbath (Saturday) and all the Jewish festivals and Holy days are considered national holidays and in varying degrees, celebrated by all the Jewish population of the country.

Because religion in Israel is not separated from the state, different communities are divided among themselves in opinions on how the country should be manifested in its Jewish religious entity. If Orthodox layers of the population seek to extend the application of religious laws beyond the personal status, where they have exclusive jurisdiction, the secular residents consider it a religious dictatorship and violation of democratic character of the state.

About 1.7 million people, comprising approximately 24 percent of Israel’s population, are non-Jews.[24] They are called the Arab population of Israel, but this is actually different groups of population, though speaking, mainly in Arabic they have their own way of life, traditions and history. Arab Muslims (almost one million), most of which are Sunnites, live mainly in small towns and villages, over half of which is in the North of the country.

Declaration on the establishment of the State of Israel from 1948 guarantees complete freedom of religion.[25] Every religious community has the right and the opportunity to freely follow the laws of their religion, to observe its holidays and rest days, and manage their internal affairs.

The religion held by the majority of the Iranian population is Shia Muslim (89%). Sunni Muslims in Iran constitute about 9% of the population and the remaining 2% of Iranians are from ‘other’ religions – primarily Zoroastrian, Christian and Jewish. What makes the religious beliefs in Iran so interesting is that although almost 90% of Iranians are Shia Muslims, globally the percentage of Shia Muslims is only 10%.[26]

Iran recognizes Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian religious minority, and other religious minorities. The continuous presence of the country’s pre-Islamic, non-Muslim communities, such as Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians, had accustomed the population to the participation of non-Muslims in society.

U.S. Department of State claims Iran’s government actions create a “threatening atmosphere for some religious minorities”,with claims of “imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on religious beliefs”.[27] Judaism is a recognized religion in Iran. The government does not directly attack Judaism. But what interesting is that non-Muslim owners of grocery shops are required to indicate their religious affiliation on the fronts of their shops.


Economy

The most amazing economic achievement of Israel is a stable growth of its development on the background of constant problems, requiring enormous expenditure: national security; at present time Israel spends on defense 8 percent of its GDP (compared with 25% in the 1970s and 23% in 1980).[28]

Even in a period of relative peace in the country it should be supported by a powerful deterrent capability of the enemy. A wave of mass immigration, created the modern infrastructure and the economy from scratch, fought in four wars, and provide security for their people. It is considered as a real “economic miracle”.

In recent years, more than 85% of the total imports, which in 2006 amounted to 47,2 billion dollars accounted for manufactured goods and fuel.[29] Israel is the world’s leading centre for the production and sale of diamonds. The diamond industry in Israel is a world leader in advanced technology and skill of the processing that provides minimal losses during polishing of rough diamonds and turning them into real diamonds. The main buyers in 2006 were the United States (63 per cent), followed by Hong Kong (14 percent), and Switzerland (11 percent).[30]

Iran’s economy is the fifteenth in the world in terms of national production (according to the CIA) and the largest among the States of Western Asia and OPEC. In 2007, Iran overtook Turkey in terms of GDP, thus becoming the largest economy in the Islamic world. The volume of the GDP in 2007 was $852, 6 billion, growth of GDP – 5, 8 %. Iran has the second largest after Saudi Arabia’s oil reserve (18 billion tons) and takes 5, 5 percent of the global market of oil products trade. Since 2008, Iran sells its oil on its own stock exchange in Euro and materials.[31]

The natural desire of the Iranian leaders to reduce the dependence of economy on oil, and therefore the dependence of political dependence on the external market. This task was during the shah government, and It is now. To solve this is difficult, as it is obvious that for the financial basis for the restructuring of the economy the easiest way is to use oil revenues. [32] Being the main earner of diamonds Israel is a very important object for Iran.

 

Political conflict: What Iran wants?

Subsequently, in public speeches Ahmadinejad has repeatedly affirmed its position regarding Israel. His statements were as from the traditional rhetoric of the legacy of Khomeini and new elements.

For example, the President of Iran quickly realized that denial of the Holocaust is one of the most light and resonance methods to attack Israel. The most important feature of anti-Zionism for Ahmadinejad became attempts to link the Holocaust and problems of the Israeli – Palestinian interaction.[33]

Revisionism of the Holocaust is still very limited went beyond the limits of scientific circles, has now become a full-fledged member of the international relations of the sovereign state, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The idea of the denial of the Holocaust for Ahmadinejad was not only strategic, but even more of a tactical nature. At the stage of its origin in the Israeli political discourse purpose of Holocaust denial was to distract attention from the Iranian nuclear program, which at that time was the focus of attention of the world community.[34]

The Iranian press of those years claimed that under the influence of such approach to the problem of the Holocaust, the West is ready to make concessions in negotiations on the nuclear program, trying to get Iran to stop. With the advent of Ahmadinejad to power the delicate balance in the Iranian-Israeli relations, periodically going to mutual rejection, completely collapsed.

Iran has embarked on a path of open hostility with Israel, and hostility beginning to be expressed not only in the claims to the present policy of Israel, but in the denial of the Holocaust, which is crucial moment for Israel, and immediately influenced the foreign policy of Iran.[35]

Ahmadinejad lashed out at Israel and the United States, noting that all the serious problems that afflict humanity, is the result of «’godless’ regime in the US and ‘villainous Zionist regime’». He added that the uncivilized «Zionists» destroy mankind «under the heavy wheels of their own egoism, capitalism and materialism» for the sake of satisfying their own whims.[36] He also pointed out that, nowadays, everywhere there is corruption, crime or humiliation, «we are faced with the ‘Zionist regime’, the USA or their accomplices»

The Iranian President reiterated that the USA and its allies have used the events of September 11 to justify its penetration in the middle East and complete freedom of action in this region. He also demanded from the USA to answer hundreds of questions associated with the events of September 11 (note that he made a similar statement in his speech at the UN General Assembly).

He said that the USA started the game “to attack our region”,[37] and added that Washington wanted to steal natural resources and to seize control over the entire region. He demanded that the US should stop their crimes and withdrew [forces] from the region, before local country will do it by force. [38] Is it war of Iran and Israel, or may be US and Iran?! Barack Obama spoke in Jerusalem with the statement that the cooperation between the two countries will continue until the power of the Israel defense complex reaches the level at which the Jewish state will be able to protect their own people from any threat. [39]

  Last thoughts..

The Arab-Israeli conflict in the minds of the world is gradually transformed into a war of civilizations. Maybe from it beginning it was a part of such a war?…But war of which civilizations? Whether East and West, as they say? two directions of development of society. Western civilization is mainly focused on changing and improving the external world in which we live, its adaptation to the needs of man.

This scientific and technological progress in all directions. This progress is based on the intellectual abilities of a man himself and extends them in accordance with the principle of positive feedback. This is a creative task, which requires a constant search – search for new ways. Eastern civilization (more precisely, the far East, originated in India and China) is more oriented not to change the world, but on the adaptation of man to the world in all its complexity and contradictions.[40]

In this regard, for the improvement of the inner world of a person to achieve harmony with the outside world. This is also a very creative task, requiring constant search for its solution for centuries developed methods and philosophical bases of psychological development.

I think that the variant of many explanations can be that the basis of the aggressiveness of Islam and the Arab society is more fundamental socio-psychological and even psycho-biological reason. Humans, like the animals has the most important biological needs – the need for search an activity. This requirement should be implemented, its implementation saves physical health and resistance to stress, and if it cannot be done in a constructive behavior, it manifests itself in destructive behavior, aggression.

While the Jews were in a subordinate and untenable situation, to practice tolerance and patronage attitude, but today the Jews, and especially with its prosperous state, represent to Arabs all the advantages of a prosperous Western culture and cause a sense of inferiority. What you cannot catch up, overtake and subdue, must be destroyed. The so-called war of civilizations is a ruthless war against civilization, and the Arab-Jewish conflict is only its best line.


 

[1] Jewish Library. The Hebron Massacre of 1929 http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/hebron29.html

[2] Арабо-израильский конфликт – конфликт цивилизаций … с чем? http://gazeta.rjews.net/v14.shtml

[3] Арабо-израильский конфликт – конфликт цивилизаций … с чем? http://gazeta.rjews.net/v14.shtml

[4]Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[5] Bible. Genesis 21:21

[6] Bible. Genesis 25:13

[7] Bible. Genesis 32:28

[8] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[9] Bible. Genesis 25:18

[10] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[11] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[12] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[13] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[14] Поход Александра Македонского на Персию. http://www.mystic-chel.ru/east/iran/535.html

[15] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[16] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[17] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[18] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[19] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[20] Государственный и политический строй Ирана. http://www.easttime.ru/countries/topics/2/11/92.html

[21] Государственный и политический строй Ирана. http://www.easttime.ru/countries/topics/2/11/92.html

[22] Государственный и политический строй Ирана. http://www.easttime.ru/countries/topics/2/11/92.html

[23] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[24] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[25] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[26] Religion in Iran. http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/articles/iran/Religion-in-Iran/126

[27] Freedom of religion in Iran. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion_in_Iran

[28] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[29] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[30] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[31] Экономика Ирана. http://www.km.ru/referats/333435-ekonomika-irana-promyshlennost-selskoe-khozyaistvo-torgovlya-turizm

[32] Экономика Ирана. http://www.webeconomy.ru/index.php?page=cat&newsid=1244&type=news

[33] Как Иран и Израиль перестали быть партнерами. http://www.vestikavkaza.ru/analytics/Kak-Iran-i-Izrail-prestali-byt-partnerami.html

[34] Как Иран и Израиль перестали быть партнерами. http://www.vestikavkaza.ru/analytics/Kak-Iran-i-Izrail-prestali-byt-partnerami.html

[35]Как Иран и Израиль перестали быть партнерами. http://www.vestikavkaza.ru/analytics/Kak-Iran-i-Izrail-prestali-byt-partnerami.html

[36] The Israel Project. Iranian TV, October 3, 2010 http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=ewJXKcOUJlIaG&b=7713555&ct=11229957

[37] The Israel Project. Iranian TV, October 3, 2010 http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=ewJXKcOUJlIaG&b=7713555&ct=11229957

[38] The Israel Project. Iranian TV, October 3, 2010 http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=ewJXKcOUJlIaG&b=7713555&ct=11229957

[39] США готовы спонсировать Израиль. http://telegrafist.org/2013/03/24/47477/

[40] Арабо-израильский конфликт – конфликт цивилизаций … с чем? http://gazeta.rjews.net/v14.shtml

”Not a Flat World”- Hope and Frustration: How to Understand It?

Globalization has bound people, countries and markets closer than ever. Ideas will spread faster, leaping borders. Poor countries will have immediate access to information that was once restricted to the industrial world and traveled only slowly, if at all, beyond it. Entire electorates will learn things that once only a few bureaucrats knew.

Small companies will offer services that previously only giants could provide. In all these ways, the communications revolution is profoundly democratic and liberating, leveling the imbalance between large and small, rich and poor. We seem to live in a world that is no longer a collection of isolated, “local” nations, effectively separated by high tariff walls, poor communications networks, and mutual suspicion. It’s a world that is increasingly wired, informed, and, well, “flat.” [1]

The few cities that dominate international financial activity — Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, New York — are at the height of modern global integration; which is to say, they are all relatively well connected with one another. But when examining the numbers, the picture is one of extreme connectivity at the local level, not a flat world. Most types of economic activity that could be conducted either within or across borders turn out to still be quite domestically concentrated.[2]

One favorite mantra from globalization champions is how “investment knows no boundaries.” The fact is, the total amount of the world’s capital formation that is generated from foreign direct investment has been less than 10 percent for the last three years for which data are available (2003–05).[3] In other words, more than 90 percent of the fixed investment around the world is still domestic.

Communications technologies have improved dramatically during the past 100 years. And the Internet itself is just one of many newer forms of connectivity that have progressed several times faster than plain old telephone service. This pace of improvement has inspired excited proclamations about the pace of global integration. The success of the Indian IT industry is not exempt from political and geographic constraints. The country of origin matters — even for capital, which is often considered stateless.

Friedman cites Nandan Nilekani, the CEO of the second-largest such firm, Infosys, as his muse for the notion of a flat world. But what Nilekani has pointed out privately is that while Indian software programmers can now serve the United States from India, access is assured, in part, by U.S. capital being invested — quite literally — in that outcome. [4]

Even Thomas Friedman, who popularized the “flat world” theory, admits towards the end of his best-selling book The World Is Flat that the world, in fact, is not flat. For instance, Friedman singles out the fall of the Berlin Wall as an alleged “flattener” because that event supposedly allowed people to see the world differently, to “tap into one another’s knowledge pools.”[5]

Friedman cites the Google search engine as another “flattener” because the company claims it wants everyone in the world to have access to all of the world’s knowledge, in every language. In fact, Friedman himself seems to be backing off the “flat world” idea, writing recently in the New York Times about a

“terrible trend emerging in the world today… a widespread religious and sectarian cleavage.”[6]

It is critical, he notes, that the U.S. stands by its principles of free trade and

“welcoming the world to do business in our land, as long as there is no security threat. If we start exporting fear instead of hope, we are going to import everyone else’s fears right back.”[7]

Friedman begins the book by proclaiming that the world is flat, and he finally offers the antithesis:

I know that the world is not flat. Don’t worry. I know.”

Like most books describing purported revolutions, The World is Flat vacillates between whether the flat world revolution is a fait accompli or an ongoing process.[8] It is a question of whether the world is flat, or whether it is flattening.  This tension is evident in Friedman’s qualified statement that:

“…the flattening of the world is largely (but not entirely) unstoppable”[9]

Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economic and Society confirms that Friedman is wrong to equate the emergence of a world of increasing interconnectedness with a ‘flat’ global economy and the empirical evidence does not in any case back up the idea that the global economy is becoming flat. [10]


[1] Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[2] Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[3]Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[4]Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[5] Logistically Speaking: It’s a round world after all http://mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/logistically-speaking-its-round-world-after-all

[6] Logistically Speaking: It’s a round world after all http://mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/logistically-speaking-its-round-world-after-all

[7]Logistically Speaking: It’s a round world after all http://mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/logistically-speaking-its-round-world-after-all

[8] Geopolitics and the Flat World. In: Friedman T.L. 2002. The World is Flat. Brief History of the Globalized Worls in the Twenty-first Century. Alan Lane an imprint of Penguin books, London, page 460

[9] Geopolitics and the Flat World. In: Friedman T.L. 2002. The World is Flat. Brief History of the Globalized Worls in the Twenty-first Century. Alan Lane an imprint of Penguin books, London, page 276

[10] http://cjres.oxfordjournals.org/content/1/3/343.full

Does Democracy in India Supports the Economical Development?

Does democracy in India support the development of the economy or is it a barreer for the development of economy?

For decades India had only 2 to 3 percent annual “Hindu rate” of growth. But that has changed. Once the democratic Indian government embarked upon implementing market-oriented reforms, the country achieved “East Asian rate” of 8 to 9 percent a year.[1] Above all, India was successful in improving governance and raising the quality of its democracy. Professor Yasheng Huang, who is expert in Chinese economy but also explores India, explains:

“The growth India enjoys today sped up in the 1990s as the country privatized TV stations, introduced political decentralization, and improved governance. And contrary to the conventional wisdom, India stagnated historically not because it was a democracy, but because, in the 1970s and 1980s, it was less democratic than it appeared… The cumulative effect of [Indira] Gandhi’s actions [as prime minister during much of the period from 1966 to 1984] is that the Indian political system, though still retaining some essential features of a democracy, became unaccountable, corrupt, and unhinged from the normal bench marks voters use to assess their leaders. (…) The economic consequences of this period of illiberalism were long lasting”And he concluded that, “The emerging Indian miracle should debunk—hopefully permanently—the entirely specious notion that democracy is bad for growth.”[2]

The economic future of India depends on the policy of the country, and this is both good and bad news. When in 2009 “The United progressive Alliance” – a group of left center parties headed by the Indian national Congress came to power for a second term, it seemed that India is on the right track.[3] The economy has overcome the most severe global recession in 7 % GDP growth, and the rate continued to increase. Inflation was low, officials finally seriously took care of social problems and politics in the world’s largest democracy while had been controversial, but was quite stable.

However, after only two years, economic growth has slowed, the budget deficit began to grow, and inflation, after a decline in the period from the beginning of 2010 at the beginning of 2012 went up.[4] The provision of basic services such as health, water, sanitation, remains on the awful level. Democracy continues to weakly develop. From the category of countries, in a democracy of which very few people doubted, India, in the words of a financial analyst Ruchir Sharma, passes to the category of states that meet only 50% of the relevant requirements.[5]

Although a number of indicators decreased from 2009 the level of savings in Indian families remained above 30% (compared to less than 5% in the USA). According to the data of Central statistical Bureau of India, the level of private consumption is about 60% (in China – 48%).[6] The solid figures indicate that the UPS and downs of the economy has not led to excessive taxation and are not forced to citizens emptying their savings to survive the difficult times; in addition, not dropped the demand for goods and services.

But the problem hides in politics. Instead of having to create favorable conditions for small business , that would encourage entrepreneurship and contributed to the growth and dynamic development of the economy, Delhi involved in facilitating the life of big business, by providing access to concessional loans, specially constructed power plants and providing protection in the event of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates.[7]

And this is a serious problem, since the sector of big business, such as mining, construction and infrastructure, are the most corrupt. And also in social sphere because of the inefficiency and corruption most of the funds do not reach those in need. The dominant party in India is Indian National Congress.

The democratization of the Indian national Congress could help to overcome the problems of the party and the country as a whole. The majority of Indian political parties, including the INC, have an archaic system of decision-making, which is controlled by small groups of elites.[8] Their aim is the maintenance of the existing power structures, and not the protection of the interests of the voters. And still the economic future of India depends on the policy of the country, and this is both good and bad news.


[1]Does democracy help or hurt economic growth? http://www.cipe.org/blog/2008/06/30/does-democracy-help-or-hurt-economic-growth/

[2] Does democracy help or hurt economic growth? http://www.cipe.org/blog/2008/06/30/does-democracy-help-or-hurt-economic-growth/

[3] Почему Индия забуксовала. http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/pochemu-indiya-zabuksovala.html

[4] Почему Индия забуксовала. http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/pochemu-indiya-zabuksovala.html

[5] Почему Индия забуксовала. http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/pochemu-indiya-zabuksovala.html

[6] Почему Индия забуксовала. http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/pochemu-indiya-zabuksovala.html

[7] Почему Индия забуксовала. http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/pochemu-indiya-zabuksovala.html

[8] Почему Индия забуксовала. http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/pochemu-indiya-zabuksovala.html

[9] Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[10] Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[11]Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[12]Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[13] Logistically Speaking: It’s a round world after all http://mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/logistically-speaking-its-round-world-after-all

[14] Logistically Speaking: It’s a round world after all http://mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/logistically-speaking-its-round-world-after-all

[15]Logistically Speaking: It’s a round world after all http://mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/logistically-speaking-its-round-world-after-all

[16] Geopolitics and the Flat World. In: Friedman T.L. 2002. The World is Flat. Brief History of the Globalized Worls in the Twenty-first Century. Alan Lane an imprint of Penguin books, London, page 460

[17] Geopolitics and the Flat World. In: Friedman T.L. 2002. The World is Flat. Brief History of the Globalized Worls in the Twenty-first Century. Alan Lane an imprint of Penguin books, London, page 276

[18] http://cjres.oxfordjournals.org/content/1/3/343.full

Aspects of the British Constitutional and Political Experience

What aspects of the British constitutional and political experience do not allow the Prime Minister to become a dictator?

The core constitutional principle of the British political system and cornerstone of the Westmister model is parlamentary sovereighnty: Parliament can make or overturna by law.[1] In a classic parliamentary democracy, the prime minister is answerable to the House of Commons and may be dismissed by it. [2]

Britain operates within a system of fusion of powers at the national level. The British cabinet bears enormous constitutional responsibility. Through its collective decision making, the cabinet and not an independent prime minister, shapes, directs and takes responsobility for government.[3] Parliamentary sovereignty, parliamentary democracy and cabinet government form the core elements of the British or Westminster model of governmnet, which many consider a model democracy and the first effective parliamentary democracy.[4]

One key feature of the constitution is the continuation of arbitrary, unlimited and unaccountable power -all of which derive from the Crown . Most of these are exercised by the government, some continue to be exercised by the Queen.[5]

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the head of government and performs many of the functions, nominally owned by the sovereign, who is the head of state.[6] According to the tradition, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet (which he chairs) are responsible for their actions in front of the Parliament, of which they are members.

The primary responsibility of the Prime Minister is the formation of the government, i.e. creation of a Cabinet, which will be able to retain the support of the House of Commons after the appointment of the Monarch. [7] The power of the Prime Minister is also limited by the House of Commons, the support of which it is to maintain.

The house of Commons partially controls the actions of the Prime Minister through the hearings in the committees and from time to time issues, the time allocated once a week, in which the Prime Minister must answer the questions of the opposition leader and other members of the chamber.[8] Many sources, such as former Ministers argue that in the government of Tony Blair’s main decisions were taken by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and the Cabinet remained on the sidelines. [9]

The only other constitutionally mandated mechanism for checking the prime minister is a defeat on a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons. Collective responsibility is a crucial aspect of the Westminster model of democracy. The Cabinets role in containing the chief executive remains the only routine check on his or her power.[10]

 

 Do citizens of the Great Britain have to demand a written constitution to defend their rights in the 21st Century?

The British constitution is often described as an unwritten constitution. Although many of the sources of the constitution are written and documented, the British Constitution remains uncodified. This means that, unlike in most modern democracies, there is no single document which explains how people are governed.[11] A constitution sets out the way in which a country will be run.[12]

Three aspects are generally defined in any constitution: First is the way in which power is balanced between the institutions (or governing bodies) of the nation State. Second is the limits to the powers exercised by such institutions, imposed to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals. And most important for citizens is the extent to which individual rights and freedoms within the nation State are protected. [13]

The governing elites of many European nations, such as France and Germany, have been forced to draw up constitutions in response to popular revolt or war. Great Britain, by contrast, remained free of the revolutionary fervor that swept much of the Continent in the 19th century. As a result, this country’s democracy has been reformed incrementally over centuries rather than in one big bang.[14] Instead constitutional experts point to a number of treaties, laws and conventions (another word for ‘habits’) which together make up the constitution.

These include: Acts of Parliament, Treaties, EU law, Common Law, Conventions, Royal Prerogative, and Works of authority. [15] Justice Secretary Jack Straw said:

“The constitution of the United Kingdom exists in hearts and minds and habits as much as it does in law.”[16]

Nor is there a single statement of citizens’ rights and freedom. As the Justice Secretary put it:

“Most people might struggle to put their finger on where their rights are.”[17]

Britain’s arcane hotch-potch of freedoms and rights cannot be defended in the 21st century.[18] It could help citizens clarify their rights and protect themselves against the state. Most flourishing democracies base their institutions on a written constitution. The proposition is that the United Kingdom should adopt a written constitution, explicitly outlining the rights of citizens, the roles of all organs of the government, and the powers of the state.

Parliament enjoys “sovereignty,” whereby it may pass whatever laws it wishes with no higher law limiting its legislation nor any judicial power to question the fundamental legitimacy of the law.[19]  Adopting such a constitution would restrict the behavior of the government, and subject all exercises of state power to judicial review. In 2007 then Prime Minister Gordon Brown made proposals for a British constitution and bill of rights which would have restricted the powers of the prime minister in areas such as declaring war however these proposals never came to anything.[20]


[1] Krieger J.Britain. Ch.2. No: Kesselman M., Krieger J. Joseph W. (eds.) ( 2007) Introduction to Comparative Politics. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston, N.Y., pp.62

[2] Ibid page 62

[3] Ibid page 62

[4] Ibid page 63

[5] The British Constitution. http://www.republic.org.uk/What%20we%20want/In%20depth/The%20British%20Constitution/index.php

[6] Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/ruwiki/88725#.D0.92.D0.BB.D0.B0.D1.81.D1.82.D1.8C_.D0.B8_.D0.B5.D1.91_.D0.BE.D0.B3.D1.80.D0.B0.D0.BD.D0.B8.D1.87.D0.B5.D0.BD.D0.B8.D1.8F

[7] Ibid

[8] Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/ruwiki/88725#.D0.92.D0.BB.D0.B0.D1.81.D1.82.D1.8C_.D0.B8_.D0.B5.D1.91_.D0.BE.D0.B3.D1.80.D0.B0.D0.BD.D0.B8.D1.87.D0.B5.D0.BD.D0.B8.D1.8F

[9] Chapter 12 Blair’s Cabinet: Monarchy Returns, British Government in Crisis, Christopher Foster, Hart Publishing, 2005

[10] Krieger J.Britain. Ch.2. No: Kesselman M., Krieger J. Joseph W. (eds.) ( 2007) Introduction to Comparative Politics. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston, N.Y., pp. 63

[11] The British Constitution. http://www.republic.org.uk/What%20we%20want/In%20depth/The%20British%20Constitution/index.php

[12] The British Constitution, law reform and the parliamentary legislative process. http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415458528/chapterone.pdf

[13] Ibid page 7

[14] The Big Question: Why doesn’t the UK have a written constitution, and does it matter? http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-big-question-why-doesnt-the-uk-have-a-written-constitution-and-does-it-matter-781975.html

[15]The British Constitution. http://www.republic.org.uk/What%20we%20want/In%20depth/The%20British%20Constitution/index.php

[16] Diversity of the human spirit. David Schiff. https://sites.google.com/site/davidschiff83/diversity

[17] The Big Question: Why doesn’t the UK have a written constitution, and does it matter? http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-big-question-why-doesnt-the-uk-have-a-written-constitution-and-does-it-matter-781975.html

[18] ibid

[19] Debates that the UK should have a written constitution.
http://idebate.org/debatabase/debates/constitutional-governance/uk-should-have-written-constitution

[20] Debates that the UK should have a written constitution.
http://idebate.org/debatabase/debates/constitutional-governance/uk-should-have-written-constitution