Didn’t we all wish for a fresh and calm but rather uneventful spring – where we would renew the joy of the wonderful aspects of academic life: engaging with colleagues and students, visiting conferences? The war in Ukraine has shattered these hopes, and instead we are facing yet another dire crisis, war, which has gripped the world. Millions are ﬂeeing from a war that was brought to them by an aggressor who does not value lives and willingly accepts great human misery in the ludicrous pursuit of rebuilding an Empire, fallen out of time.
If you are a long-time reader of the GLJ you might remember that following the annexation of Crimea and the events on the Maidan Square in Kiev in 2014 we published a seminal Special Issue on Ukraine in 2015. It is most certainly worth looking into (again), revisiting contributions that are still today topical. Maybe it stimulates your appetite if we reveal that hours after the publication of that Special Issue the Journal’s website had been attacked by hackers and taken down – it was our ﬁrst immediate glimpse of cyber warfare. Well, it is out there for everyone to read.
One of our main goals at the GLJ is to bring research from around the globe to the attention of a broad, global audience, so that we all move closer together, and so that we can learn about our similarities and diﬀerences to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding. We are convinced the issue we bring to you today is no exception to this. As you rightly expect it to, it covers a variety of topics that are of high topicality either because they cover recent events or as they deal with current legal issues.
The journal kicks oﬀ with an article by Antonia Baraggia and Matteo Bonelli, who introduce you to the new Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation that the EU institutions agreed upon. They not only analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the regulation but also put it into a broader perspective of possible constitutional tensions, which the rise of conditionality in EU law might bring about.
Johannes Graf von Luckner turns our attention to a ruling by the German Federal Constitutional Court, which unfortunately did not receive the attention it deserves, despite its far-reaching implications for European integration. The article identiﬁes the obstacles and opportunities that may arise in the future, after the Court declared the law ratifying the Unitary Patent Court Agreement unconstitutional, stating that international treaties supplementing or being otherwise closely tied to the EU will need to be ratiﬁed according to Article 23 of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz).
The same Court’s decision on the importance of human rights for the cooperation of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service with foreign intelligence services received much broader attention. Katrin Kappler outlines the Court’s decision for us, analyzing the ruling and the new law that the German parliament passed in response to the ruling, and she points out the signiﬁcance it will have for the international community of states.
The following piece by Heikki Marjosolas tackles the growing body of the so-called soft law in the European Union. He assesses rulemaking and regulatory innovation by the European Supervisory Authorities, examining what type of procedural controls and review mechanisms would be most beneﬁcial to regulatory innovation while also controlling its excesses.
Giovanni De Gregorio and Catalina Goanta take us along into the world of social media and the legal implications that arise from the monetization of political speech. The authors discuss constitutional diﬀerences between commercial and political speech in Europe and in the United States, introducing the audience to content monetization models used on social media, thus providing a comprehensive insight into this complex topic.
A diﬀerent kind of “online advertising” is at the center of the work by Michael Veale and Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesis. They discuss systems of real-time bidding and their compliance with the requirement for a legal basis, transparency and security as required by the GDPR, revealing serious deﬁciencies in compliance.
To round up this issue of the GLJ you will be reading Cristina Fasone’s article on the constitutional role of independent ﬁscal institutions in the Eurozone. She is the ﬁrst to deep dive into a constitutional analysis of the prospective impact they have on national legal systems and does this by way of case studies on France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.
However, before we can leave you to reading these great contributions, there is another exciting announcement from the “machine room” of the Journal, good news for authors and readers alike: Thanks to a meticulously planned transition to a new publication process – devised by Jen Hendry (GLJ Co-Editor in Chief), Scott Ingram (GLJ Executive Editor) and the student editors at Washington & Lee, and Andrew Hyde (from CUP) – we will be transitioning the publication of non-Special Issue contributions over to “FirstView” by next year: Every ﬁnalized and corrected article will be published online immediately, even before the entire issue is published. So you will still receive compiled issues with GLJ articles – but the individual articles will be available even sooner, even faster. If it weren’t so anachronistic you could say every individual text will be available “hot oﬀ the press”. We are working at full blast on reducing our current backlog to enable this transition. The German Law Journal will then be among the ﬁrst international general interest law journals that is fully open access, peer reviewed and available on a rolling FirstView basis! – There are more innovations to our publishing scheme in the pipeline, but that’s for another time, so stay tuned…
But enough editorial boasting – now ﬁnd yourself a comfortable chair and enjoy the latest issue of the GLJ!
Emanuel V. Towﬁgh
for the Editors-in-Chief