Tag Archives: europe

Participant, expert seminar ‘Religious Pluralism and Human Rights in Europe: Where to Draw the Line?’, Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, Utrecht (9-10 May 2006)

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‘”How should we deal with religious pluralism in contemporary Europe from a human rights perspective and where should we draw the line, if any?” This was the central question of an expert seminar held in 2006 at Utrecht University to celebrate the inaugural address of Abdullahi An-Na’im, who occupied the G.J. Wiarda Chair at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) in 2005/2006. (…)
Though religious pluralism in itself is anything but new in Europe, the influx of large groups of non-Christians, especially Muslims, and the political climate after recent terrorist attacks have profoundly changed the terms of the debate on how to deal with it. Should all religions be treated the same, or is it legitimate to take European Christian heritage into account?
Does religion deserve more protection than culture? What does it mean if we say the State has to be secular and/or neutral? How should freedom of religion be dealt with if it conflicts with other fundamental rights such as sex equality? And how should one approach limitations on the freedom of expression that are related to religion, such as hate speech bans or criminalisation of glorifying terrorism?
The questions are set against the background of modern notions of citizenship and the European human rights framework.’

Source: http://intersentia.com/en/shop/academisch/religious-pluralism-and-human-rights-in-europe.html.

About the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights:

‘SIM is the key centre of expertise of human rights research and education at Utrecht University.

The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights offers internationally oriented study programmes, conducts interdisciplinary research and organises a range of activities in the field of human rights.

History
Established in 1981 as a research support institute for a group of Dutch human rights NGOs, SIM has become integrated into Utrecht University over time. SIM was one of the founders of the Netherlands School of Human Rights Research and is the home of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights. Famous human rights researchers have headed SIM since its creation, including Hans Thoolen, Manfred Nowak, Peter Baehr, Cees Flinterman and Jenny Goldschmidt. Antoine Buyse is SIM’s current director. With a rich tradition and a keen eye voor current and future developments in the field of human rights, SIM is a leading academic research institute and the home base of a vibrant, interdisciplinary and international group of researchers, lecturers, and PhD students.’

– See more at: http://sim.rebo.uu.nl/en/over-ons/#sthash.Klf2stYo.dpuf.

Paper presentation, ‘Multiple Sovereignties and the Principle of Separation of Powers’, IXth World Congress of Constitutional Law, University of Oslo (2014)

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About the Congress:

‘The IACL holds a World Congress every 3-4 years. The IXth Congress will take place in Oslo from 16 to 20 June 2014 and is organised by the Department of Public Law at the University of Oslo in collaboration with the Executive Committee of the IACL. The venue for the Congress is the historic Main Building of the University of Oslo, which is in the centre of the city.
The Congress will take place just one month after the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution which today stands as the second-oldest written Constitution in the world. It is expected that between 300 and 500 participants will attend the Congress, from all regions of the world.
The working languages of the Congress are French and English and simultaneous translation will be provided in plenary sessions.
The IACL uses two principal formats for the scholarly programme of a World Congress: plenary sessions and workshops. Plenary sessions are open to all participants while workshops are smaller and discussion-based. There will be four plenary sessions in this Congress, each of which lasts for 3½ hours.’

About the workshop during which the paper was presented (‘The mutations and transformation of division of powers: the constitutional organization’):

‘The classical characteristics of the Legislative and Executive Powers, which have scarcely changed since the origins of liberal constitutionalism (XVIIIXIX), are no longer adequate concepts or theoretical devices for explaining constitutional reality.

Every division of powers rests on the willingness of a constitutional assembly to divide the power with the purpose of avoiding the abuse of power and tyranny. The search for a system of checks and balances is then based on a liberal conception of political power. Therefore the main instrument to realize this balanced frame is to organize a moderate and representative government as was defended by Montesquieu and other authors; a limited power – they thought – should exclude arbitrariness and despotism.

But it becomes necessary to maintain two essential ingredients of the spirit of division of powers: the efficiency of this frame of government and the limitation of powers itself. The first ensures the supreme and general interest of a community; the second guarantees the fundamental rights and private interests of individuals. Thus both requirements must condition the development of the political society that every Constitution leads.

The issue of division of powers is however, nowadays, clearly renewed, because not only do the Executive and the Legislative powers play a main role within constitutional organization, but also those two classical powers have been submitted to strong transformations. Besides, modern constitutional provisions have created many new organs and powers, taking into account new circumstances and techniques.

On one hand, the judiciary power has affirmed itself step by step as a counter power of political and representative power. On the other hand, there are other powers with a diverse nature and quite different from those organized by the constitution:

the economic and financial powers,
international organizations which can be founded on different bedrocks,
lobbies which represent the interest of different groups in a society or even
collective and minority interests (religions, languages, costumes, regional or national identities), or
media powers.
These entities do not belong to the democratic and representative circuit provided inside constitutions. Those new realities and scenarios should probably be present in the philosophy of the contemporary constitutional organization. We must also underline the existence of supranational organizations, in particular in Europe and Latin America, as well as their intense impact on the transformation of the domestic division of power within the States.’

For sources and additional information, see:

http://www.iacl-aidc.org/en/events/previous-events/103-oslo-congress-oslo-congress-16-20-june-2014;

http://www.jus.uio.no/english/research/news-and-events/events/conferences/2014/wccl-cmdc/wccl/program/workshops/workshop15.html.

[At my request, my own paper was removed from the list of ‘accepted papers’ for copyright purposes.]

Discussant, ‘Values for Europe’ conference, Christian Political Foundation for Europe, The Hague (2012)

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‘”Values for Europe” conference in The Hague

Friday 27 April 2012

At April 27, the ECPF held a congress about the European Union in The Hague, together with the Research Institute of the ChristenUnie party.

The beautiful Old Meeting Hall of the Dutch House of Representatives was full with congress participants that afternoon. The timing of the congress could not have been better, because just in that week important negotiations had taken place about the 2013 budget, in which the ChristenUnie had taken the lead. Budget cuts are necessary because of European agreements in the Stability- and Growth Pact.

Researchers Luitwieler and Ten Napel and politicians Slob and Van Dalen were speakers at the congress. Over 80 attendants participated in the conference.

Dr. Sander Luitwieler, researcher for the ECPF ‘Europe’s Values’ study project, encouraged the Dutch ChristenUnie party to speak henceforth both positive and critical about the European Union. In the Christian political philosophical tradition originating from neo-Calvinism, ‘public justice’ is seen as the core political norm for the task of government.

Luitwieler stated that public justice can be applied also at a supranational level, such as that of the European Union. Public justice can help policy makers to balance multiple interests. Justice should be the leading principle, not the laws of economics and the financial markets.

At the moment, Europe is at a crosspoint between, at the one side, a financial crisis, and, at the other side, also a crisis of legitimacy. The Dutch cabinet has fallen also more or less because of the developments in Europe. The European desire for further integration runs up against a lack of support. This can only be countered if the EU itself recognizes where it is good at and when it also guarantees cultural diversity between member states.

Constitutional law scholar prof. Hans Martien ten Napel argued for ‘a higher form of tolerance’ in Europe than just escaping sensitive issues. Remaining silent about the name of God in a constitution is not religiously impartial. Based on the thought of European law professor Joseph Weiler, Ten Napel observed a ‘Christian deficit’ in Europe.

This is shown in the fact that many academics, especially on the history of European integration, neglect the Christian heritage of Europe. European integration was not defended because of the process itself or because of the results, but because of the ideals that were the foundation for it. Now Europe is increasingly post-Christian, also the European idealism (Weiler even calls it ‘European messianism’) disappears.

Peter van Dalen MEP suggested that research should be done on the possible future of the eurozone. Might it be a good idea to introduce an adjusted euro for countries like Greece and Spain, so that countries can develop their economies in their own ways, taking into account their own possibilities? It has become clear that the current way to deal with the crisis has not led to a solution.’

Source: http://www.ecpf.info/k/n34705/news/view/522996/581712/values-for-europe-conference-in-the-hague.html.

About CPFE:

‘The Christian Political Foundation for Europe (CPFE, formerly ECPF) is an association that acts as the political foundation for the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM). The CPFE supports and underpins the ECPM especially in terms of political content by European co-operation and the introduction of analysis, ideas and policy options.

The CPFE shares the basic program and Christian values of the ECPM. As association the CPFE welcomes thinktanks, NGO’s and individual politicians as members if they agree with these values and the Christian-democrat principles as expressed in the basic program.

The CPFE has three main goals among which its activities will be organized:

  • Connecting Christian inspired think-tanks and NGOs and starting a process of exchange of knowledge and experience. The CPFE website will become a European portal to many organizations, virtual libraries and information on many fields of policy. Also a database will be developed that will help parties, politicians and other organizations in their work.
  • Informing parties and politicians at the national level on important European policy developments that will enable them to react early and efficiently on ideas coming from the EU institutions. This work will be accompanied by actual policy comments.
  • Creating new ideas and approaches to the challenges in a globalised world and a global economy. The CPFE supports in-depth study projects that highlight and work from Christian inspiration. The CPFE wants to formulate attractive alternatives for the dominant secular dogmas in culture and economics.’

About Sander Luitwieler’s book A community of peoples: Europe’s values and public justice in the EU:

http://www.ecpf.info/acommunityofpeople.

Article ‘Combining Efficiency and Transparancy in Legislative Processes’ in Issue 3 of The Theory and Practice of Legislation (2015)

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The abstract of the article, co-authored with Wim Voermans and Reijer Passchier, reads as follows:

‘In this contribution, we will illustrate the modern-day dynamics of the interplay between the need for expedience and efficiency on the one hand, and the demand for openness, inclusiveness and transparency on the other by looking into one of government’s main decision-making processes: the legislative process. Particularly in the field of legislation, the balancing of both efficiency and transparency is of the essence for modern legislatures in parliamentary democracies: laws expressed by acts and legislative instruments can only be truly effective if they rest on broad societal support. As we will argue, a transparent and inclusive legislative process functions as a kind of democratic check on government action: it guarantees sufficient deliberative activity before a government may act. Throughout our contribution, a 2012 comparative study commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, and carried out by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Leiden University will be used as a guiding rail to illustrate some the ways in which different jurisdictions in Europe have managed to combine, or at least balance, the need for legislative efficiency and transparency. We will use this study to demonstrate how traditional legislative processes nowadays grapple to translate the will of the citizens into effective legislation, how modern administrations still need democratically underpinned legislative procedures as the basis for the legitimation of (their) decisions, how efficient delivery of decisions and careful (lengthy) scrutiny interact. On the basis of this material we will further discuss concepts of, respectively, efficiency and transparency and especially the way modern legislatures examined in the study use information and communication technology (ICT) to overcome the sometimes opposing demands on their legislative processes. Insofar as possible we will try to highlight a few ‘best practices’ that show how legislative processes can (and cannot) adapt to new present day demands.’

For access options of the full article, see:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/20508840.2015.1133398.

About the journal:

‘The  Theory and Practice of Legislation aims to offer an international and interdisciplinary forum for the examination of legislation. The focus of the journal, which succeeds the former title  Legisprudence, remains with legislation in its broadest sense. Legislation is seen as both process and product, reflection of theoretical assumptions and a skill. The journal addresses formal legislation, and its alternatives (such as covenants, regulation by non-state actors etc.).

The editors welcome articles on systematic (as opposed to historical) issues, including drafting techniques, the introduction of open standards, evidence-based drafting, pre- and post-legislative scrutiny for effectiveness and efficiency, the utility and necessity of codification, IT in legislation, the legitimacy of legislation in view of fundamental principles and rights, law and language, and the link between legislator and judge. Comparative and interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged. But dogmatic descriptions of positive law are outside the scope of the journal. The journal offers a combination of themed issues and general issues.
All articles are submitted to double blind review.’

Presentation during Second National Conference of Christians in Political Science, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI (1999)

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About the Conference:

‘The Paul Henry Institute will host the second national conference of Christians in Political Science, June 17-20, 1999. Christian political scientists from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia have already registered to attend the event. More than twenty different panels, each addressing different thematic issues, have been organized, with more than sixty papers being given by different scholars in the field. On Friday, June 18, the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus will deliver an address that will be open to the public.’

Source: http://henry.calvin.edu/dotAsset/182cb684-4848-4d40-8150-9476e78b335d.pdf.

About the Henry Institute:

‘The Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics was created in 1997 to continue the work of integrating Christian faith and politics advanced by its namesake, educator and public servant Paul B. Henry.

The Institute is dedicated to providing resources for scholarship, encouraging citizen involvement and education, structuring opportunities to disseminate scholarly work, seeking avenues to communicate and promote information about Christianity and public life to the broader public, and motivating and training future scholars and leaders.’

About Christians in Political Science:

‘Christians in Political Science aims to encourage students of politics to integrate their Christian faith into their research and writing; stimulate and assist members to bring insights and perspectives from their faith to classroom teaching; and provide a forum for fellowship. We recognize that Christians of good faith may disagree about how Christianity should inform our professional, political, and other activities. Indeed, a major goal of CPS is to encourage discussion of these matters among believers from different traditions and with divergent views.’

My own presentation was entitled ‘The Fall of Christian Democracy in Europe’.

Contribution to volume on ‘Rethinking Europe’s Constitution’ (2007)

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‘The beginnings of this book go back to 2003 when the editor asked the contributors and several others to participate in an expert meeting on the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, which at that time had just been made public. Subsequently, all went to work and towards the end of 2004 most participants at the meeting had completed their contribution to the book. During the editing process, however, something happened which nobody – least of all the editor – had taken into consideration. In May and June 2005 – as we all know – the French and Dutch people rejected the Draft Treaty in a referendum, thus bringing the constitutional process to a sudden standstill.

The editor asked the contributors to revise their papers in such a manner that they would also answer the question:
• What should be the basic legal framework of institutions of the European Union in the near and not-so-near future? In other words: what would be essential constitutional elements of a modified Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe? (Never mind whether it will be called a ‘Constitution’ or not.)

The result is the book you are holding in your hands. We hope that it will be of some use in thinking through the question that should be – but is not – on everyone’s mind because it is a question of invaluable importance for the future of Europe: What should become of the European Union?

All in all, you will find here a collection of eleven essays on various aspects of that question. For clarity’s sake, the essays are divided into four parts.
Part I is about what many constitutions, including the Draft Treaty, start with: the preamble. More specifically, it is about the issue, heavily contended in the recent discussion on the Draft Treaty, whether the preamble should contain any references to God or religion. Paul Cliteur’s essay on God and Religion in the Preamble of Constitutions starts off this book with a thorough discussion of this issue and defends a laicist constitution, radically separating state and church.

Part II comprises four essays, which, from very different perspectives, deal with the overall constitutional structure of the European Union. In his paper United we stand, divided we fall, a Case for the United States of Europe, Andreas Kinneging makes a case – as the title already leads us to suspect – for a United States of Europe, along the lines of the case made by the American Founding Fathers for a strong United States of America. Likewise, in his essay Europe of the 21st Century and the Fears and Formulae of the 18th and 19th Century, Paul De Hert also pleads for the creation of an American style federal state in Europe, but for very different reasons. He is mainly concerned with balancing the powers of the Union and of the national governments, in order to ensure the liberty of the individual. From this same perspective he also discusses and criticizes the Charter of Fundamental Rights. In the third contribution to the second part, in a paper entitled Pluralism and European Unification, Hans-Martien ten Napel explores what a pluralist Christian vision of a good European constitution looks like, and assesses the extent to which the Draft Treaty is consistent with this vision. He concludes that the demands of pluralism are insufficiently honoured. Sophie van Bijsterveld’s essay on Governance in the EU: Democratic Equality and the Separation of Powers concludes the second part. It looks at the developments in the European Union from the point of view of two principles which are also central to the US Constitution: the separation of powers and democracy, with regard to both formal and informal governance of Europe.

Part III subsequently singles out the principle of democracy for further discussion. Everybody knows that, traditionally, the democratic image of the decision-making processes in the European Union and its predecessors is rather questionable. Perhaps in order to counter that image, the framers of the Draft Treaty devoted a number of articles (44-51) explicitly to ‘The democratic life of the Union’. The question is of course whether this questionable image is justified to begin with, and if so, whether constitutional changes along the lines of the Draft Treaty would improve the situation and make the European Union more democratic. The two essays included in part III are rather pessimistic on both regards. In a paper aptly named The Aristocratic Surplus, Armin Cuyver gives an overview of the lack of democracy in the institutions of the European Union. In The Democratic Life in Europolis, Paul Nieuwenburg then follows up with a critique of the above-mentioned articles of the Draft Treaty, which he argues to be muddled and shallow.

Finally, in part IV, four authors discuss different aspects of the governance of the European Union. In his paper The Coming of Age of the European Legislator, Wim Voermans examines the various issues pertaining to the legislative power in Europe. He contends that, contrary to what is often believed, the European Parliament is now a full-blown legislative power, comparable to the national parliaments. In his contribution The President of the European Council as the Servant of the United States of Europe, John Sap focuses on the executive power. Carla Zoethout and Rick Lawson round off the book with essays on the position of the European Court of Justice and its case law. In her paper The Court and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, Zoethout focuses on the question how the European Court should interpret the Charter of Fundamental Rights. And in his paper In Search of Polaris: which Rights for the European Union, Lawson asks which human-rights standards the European Court should apply and how they should be applied.’

My own contribution is entitled: ‘Pluralism and European Unification’.  You can download it here: https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/12437/Pluralism+and+European+Unification.pdf?sequence=4.

Order information of the volume as a whole:

http://www.wolfpublishers.com/book.php?id=282;

http://www.amazon.com/Rethinking-Europes-Constitution-Andreas-Kinneging/dp/9058502619.

Co-editor, Religion and Mass Electoral Behaviour in Europe (Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science, 2000)

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‘The onset of a new millennium has given renewed impetus to the study of religion and its place in the secular world. Religion and Mass Electoral Behaviour in Europe is an innovative, cutting-edge study, which focuses on the question of whether – and how – religion continues to influence and shape electoral behaviour across Europe.

With exceptional detail, this book presents empirical data drawn from a range of country case studies to provide examples of different religious experiences and relationships.’

Order information:

http://www.amazon.com/Religion-Electoral-Behaviour-Routledge-Political/dp/0415201292;

http://www.tandf.net/books/details/9780415201292/.

Co-editor and co-author, Regulating Political Parties. European Democracies in Comparative Perspective (2014)

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‘Regulating Political Parties provides a novel and valuable contribution to the existing literature on political parties by discussing the various dimensions of party law and regulation, in Europe and other regions of the world. To what extent are political parties legitimate objects of state regulation? What are the dilemmas of regulating political finance? To what extent are parties accorded a formal constitutional status? What are the consequences of legal bans on political parties? How do legal arrangements affect parties representing ethnic minorities? These and related questions are discussed and examined from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. By bringing together international experts from the disciplines of law and political science, this volume thus addresses from an interdisciplinary and comparative point of view what has long been a notable lacuna in the study of political parties.’

The volume includes a chapter I co-authored with Jaco van den Brink, entitled ‘The SGP Case: Did it Really (Re)Launch the Debate on Party Regulation in the Netherlands?

Order information:

Leiden University Press: http://www.lup.nl/product/regulating-political-parties/;

The University of Chicago Press: http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/R/bo20133500.html;

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Regulating-Political-Parties-Democracies-Comparative/dp/9087282184.

Contribution to Annual Comparative Law Work-in-Progress Workshop

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This weekend I will be participating in the above workshop, co-sponsored by Princeton University’s Program in Law and Public Affairs, the American Society of Comparative Law, the University of Illinois College of Law and the UCLA Law School.

I will be commenting on a paper on “Administrative Democracy in Europe: Expanding the ‘Public Space’ Through Stakeholder Participation in Regulatory Policymaking”.

See for more information on the program of the workshop: https://lapa.princeton.edu/content/annual-comparative-law-work-progress-workshop-0.

The Amish as a test case for religious freedom

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What explains the apparently lasting difference in the scope of religious freedom between the U.S. and Europe?

I invite you to read my new blogpost at Leiden Law Blog: http://leidenlawblog.nl/articles/the-amish-as-a-test-case-for-religious-freedom.