The evolution of European agencies’ competences in civil aviation


 by José Ricardo Sousa, member of CEDU

Over the last years, the European Union (EU) has dealt with a structural metamorphosis to face the new contemporary challenges, together with the will to continue the idea of Europe conceived by Jean Monnet, Konrad Adenauer or Altiero Spinelli. This situation can be seen pretty well on the economic area, where interactions between EU institutions and Member States (MS) have been rising in the last decades in order to accomplish the economic goals set for both parties and to protect and to ensure the EU single market.

The process of agencification established in the late 90’s of the previous century by Romano Prodi, former President of the EC, is a good example of Governance and Multi-Level Administration inside EU. The so-called “Prodi Reform” began as a response to the polemic involved with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) disease that showed how inefficient EU’s role were in supervise all economic sections and guarantee the high-standard of security for all goods that were produced and sold to all EU citizens, due to the overload of workings. Moreover, the foreseen EU enlargement to the East was seen as another reasonable motive to reform all the European Commission (EC) workings. So, EC, as the EU institution responsible for safeguarding the principles and rules of the EU Treaties, has the duty to assess (together with DG Comp) the single European market and to evaluate cases that are incompatible with provisions of the Treaties, as well as other legislative acts emanating from it, as set out in Article 17(1) TEU. For that reason, EC felt the need to decentralise its competences and sub-delegate some of the powers to non-democratic bodies which carries out all tasks needed to accomplish the proposed objectives, such as regulatory power, inspective powers, inter alia.
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The EU and the challenges of the digital economy

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 by Iva Guterres, PhD student at the University of Leeds

In 1995 Don Tapscotts coined the term Digital Economy in his book, “The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence”. At the time, he was far for imagining just how the future would be dictated by the internet and technological development (then still in its infancy). In the meantime, the internet has become a huge part of the global economy.  Tapscotts’ book established the connection between the internet and the way economic models would change the way business was done and seen from there onwards.

At the beginning of the 1990s one major question rose on the legal landscape. What would the challenges be for global e-commerce and the tax rules or even global digital taxation? In 1996, David Tillinghast[i] wrote an article in which he questioned how traditional tax rules or policies would react to cross-border e-commerce.

Since then, history has witnessed radical changes in society and in the economy, which took Klaus Schwas, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, to write the book, “The fourth Industrial Revolution in 2016”.

In recent years, the EU and the OECD have been keeping an eye on business activities, especially since 2013, through the BEPS project (The Base Erosion and Profit Shifting). This was motivated by the behaviour of multinationals attempting to avoid paying tax in their home countries by taking their businesses abroad to low and no-tax jurisdictions. This generated practices and behaviors of schemes indicting aggressive fiscal planning.
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Editorial of March 2018


 by Tiago Cabral, member of CEDU

Homeopathic Democracy: The European Power Struggle over the Spitzenkandidaten

1. According to article 17(7), TEU “taking into account the elections to the European Parliament and after having held the appropriate consultations, the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, shall propose to the European Parliament a candidate for President of the Commission. This candidate shall be elected by the European Parliament by a majority of its component members”. There are several issues in this article, some of them we even had the opportunity to discuss before.

2. In fact, when talking about the President of the European Commission (EC) it is quite a stretch to state that there is an “election” by the European Parliament (EP). Politically inspired wording notwithstanding, the truth is that the European Council (ECON) holds most of the cards in the selection of EC’s President and the balance of power tends to favour this institution. There are also some notorious similarities between the position of the EP in relation to the ECON in the selection of the President of the EC and the position of the EP in relation to the Council in the consent legislative procedure. While it is possible to argue that there is an “indirectly-indirect election”[i], we believe that it would be more accurate to state that the Parliament approves and has veto power over the ECON’s choice.

3. However, the 2014 elections to the EP brought with them a rather interesting innovation: the Spitzenkandidaten (leading candidate). This procedure aims to give “direct” or at least “quasi-direct” democratic legitimacy to the President of the EC by tying the nomination to the EP’s elections. First the political parties choose their leading candidate, then the people vote, then the ECON and EP obey their will by confirming candidate chosen by the citizens[ii]. There is some debate on who should be nominated by the ECON and approved by the EP, the candidate from the party who won the most seats in the elections or the candidate from the coalition best placed to guarantee a passing majority. Under the current Spitzenkandidaten rules the second choice seems to make the most sense. Nevertheless, it seems likely that in the current European political climate the candidate from the biggest party will also be the best positioned to achieve a solid majority.
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