Editorial | Volume 20 No. 5

Volume 20 No. 5

Dear readers,

We bring you best wishes and some light summer reading from the HQ of the German Law Journal. Our latest issue touches on several topical aspects of European Union Law – a field that has begun to entail to many diverse policy areas and disciplinary traditions that it is perhaps meaningless to still pretend some level of overall coherence. At the same time, as this issue’s voyage from anti-discrimination law to questions of taxation; and from the EU’s digital rights regime to the effort to conserve marine mammals shows us; certain questions, tensions, and regulatory responses carry over from policy field to policy field. As the EU’s regulatory, administrative and constitutional machinery expands and becomes more sophisticated, so does the academic research. All contributions to this issue are full of insights into the EU’s functioning, its assumptions and consequences, which will be of great interest for all scholars working on transnational and European law.

We begin our summer, as all best trips do, at the seaside. Ilja Richard Pavone’s article on the conservation of marine mammals highlights that conservation rules (such as the banning of hunting of certain marine mammals) must be supplemented by fisheries rules in a way that centers on the notion of fish welfare. Next, Uladzislau Belavusau and Kristin Henrard offer a bird’s eye view of the first 18 years of the EU’s non-discrimination directives, and argue that their maturity both offers opportunities for more meaningful protection of different vulnerable groups in society, as well as entailing risks of proceduralization of the EU’s commitment towards equality. Boryana Gotsova ’s contribution focuses on EU asylum law, and more specifically on the resumption of the transfers of asylum seekers to Greece under the Dublin system. Boryana argues that the Commission’s recommendation to resume transfers fails to take the human right protection of asylum seekers seriously, and prioritizes the functioning of the Dublin regime over the rights that protect those subject to it. The contribution by Jussi Jaakola focuses on the possibility of a European-wide tax regime. He explores the interaction between democratic authority and the power to levy income tax, and suggests that the asymmetries in European integration make this interaction particularly salient for the EU’s future.

Our next stop, where we will linger slightly longer, is the field of EU data privacy law. Damian Clifford, Inge Graef and Peggy Valcke analyze pre-formulated declarations of data subject consent. They run through different regulatory responses to these declarations, analyzing their legality and suitability from the perspective of data regulation, consumer protection, and competition law. Valentin Pfisterer ’s article, instead, focuses on the CJEU’s understanding of the right to privacy. Despite (or due to?) its rapid and high-profile rise, it is still ill-defined. Valentin explores the ensuing inconsistencies and flaws in the conceptual understanding of the right to privacy in the case law.

If all of that is not sufficiently exotic for your summer reading, our next destination is South-America. Paulo Emilio Vauthier Borges de Macedo’s article explores new ground: the question of how the creation of Mercosur is based on a foundational myth that overstretches the analogy with the European Union. He argues that the contemporary focus on the supranational nature of regional integration is at odds with the more recent history of Mercosur.

The last two contributions to our summer issue are development pieces. Jan Keesen and Jacob Ulrich report from this years’ Assistententagung – the little brother of theStaatsrechtslehrertagung (try saying that five times in a row..). In what has become a tradition for our journal, we publish the conference proceedings of the annual meeting of German-speaking public law assistants.  Jan and Jacob offer an excellent overview not only of the themes covered, but also of the interests, insights, and questions that the younger German-speaking public lawyers are engaging in. The final words for this issue go to Malcolm MacLaren, a trusted member of our advisory board. His book review of Michael Ignatieff’s ‘The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World’ shows how the very best academic writing manages to use insights from a range of disciplinary traditions to shed a light on the assumptions and traditions of other disciplines. It is a must-read for those liberals and cosmopolitans disoriented in world of 2019.

As always, we wish you happy reading. This time, as well, we wish you a happy summer!