Citizenship was the mark of political affiliation in Europe in the twentieth century. While estate, religion, party, class, and nation lost political significance in the century of extremes, citizenship advanced to become the decisive category of political affiliation.
In the century’s upheavals and political struggles, the legal institution of citizenship had a decisive influence on the limits of a political community, on in- and exclusion, and thus on an individual’s opportunities in life. Its enfranchisement included the obligation to risk life and limb for the survival of one’s country in exchange for the right to protection, participation in the expanding political and social rights in the democracies and welfare states of Europe and ultimately access to the new legal status of being a citizen of the European Union. Continue reading
The question about the historical relation between international law and colonialism (and its legacy) has grown in relevance over the last twenty-odd years. Critical scholars speak of international law’s “complete complicity with the colonial project” – meaning the exploitation and domination of the global south. They point to the ‘dark side’ of the promises of ‘order’, ‘equality’, and ‘(world) peace’ inherent in the enlightened idea of the ius gentium europaeum.
It is important to point out that nineteenth-century contemporaries were already well aware of the relation between international law and colonialism but they did not look at it from a moral perspective. Continue reading
Global governance consists of a multitude of international institutions. Although these institutions regulate only individual areas of transnational governance like trade, security, climate change, and financial assistance, they do not operate in isolation from each other, but overlap in their competences. With regard to international financial assistance, for example, the competences of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and regional development banks overlap. In the realm of international security, NATO overlaps with the Common Security and Defense Policy of the European Union. The trade-environment-nexus features overlap between the WTO and several environmental institutions, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Ozone Protection Regime, and the Biodiversity Regime. Continue reading
The history of how today’s Europe developed is presented from the present-day perspective, from that of the current form of European integration: a democratic, politically integrated structure based on the rule of law and economic freedoms, growing prosperity and voluntary membership. This structure is characterized by common values in the canon of classical rights to freedom and the obligation for peace. It reflects how, after 1945, the European integration process foreswore excessive violence, pronounced nationalism, and the policy of excessive and authoritarian state control that destroyed freedom during the first half of the century. Continue reading
Contemporary democracies ascribe to constitutional courts, among other things, the pivotal role of protecting and implementing rights against the background of electoral politics. That task was arguably played, over the past decades, with varying degrees of success. At the same time, these courts have gradually occupied a major political space. This has generated a significant revival of the age-old question about the democratic legitimacy of constitutional review, an arrangement that empowers unelected judges to control decisions by parliamentary representatives. Continue reading
It is sometimes assumed that liberalism somehow came to an end during the 1930s, handing over the baton to national welfare state regimes after the war while finding refuge in liberal internationalism. Furthermore, recent studies on neoliberalism have shown that a profound understanding of liberalism seems to be missing. Is neoliberalism merely the renaissance of liberalism? What, then, is liberalism? And what exactly is neoliberalism? Are social democratic versions of a market economy not liberal? Continue reading