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Drowning in the Mediterranean: Time to think and act regionally

Europe, that is, the EU and its institutions, currently asserts the right to manage the movement of people across the Mediterranean, and with that comes responsibility, for special protection is owed to those whom it would manage. ‘Responsibility’ is multi-dimensional. Fault, in the sense of wilful or negligent conduct, may be relevant; or responsibility may follow from the breach of due diligence obligations; and actual liability itself may be contingent on circumstances, as demonstrated years after the event by the HRC decisions in Malta and Italy (on which Marko Milanovic commented so astutely). But responsibility is not only individual; it is also collective, and the present system is full of holes. On 26 March, the EU Common Security and Defence Policy military operation in the Mediterranean – EUNAVFOR MED IRINI – was extended for two years, tasked with continuing to secure the implementation of the UN arms embargo to Libya and disrupting human smuggling and trafficking operations. But just two weeks before, the UN’s Panel of Experts on Libya noted that the…

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The Waiver of Immunity of Catalan MEPs: Reintroducing Politics in EU Extradition Law

On 8 March 2021, the European Parliament voted to lift the immunity of Catalan MEPs, Puigdemont, Comin and Ponsati. Although this long-lasting saga is far from being over as Puigdemont already announced his intention to bring the case before the CJEU on procedural grounds, this decision would theoretically enable Spanish authorities to resume the European arrest…

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Proposed EU Sanctions Against Uganda: Thoughts on This New Extraterritorial Human Rights Regime

On 11 February 2021, the European parliament adopted three resolutions on human rights situations in Uganda, Rwanda and Kazakhstan. Notably, for Uganda, it called for sanctions against individuals and entities responsible for human rights violations. My claim is that sanctions are an interplay between international relations and international human rights law regimes. Whereas they have the potential…

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Diplomats or fonctionnaires? The Contested Status of the EU’s ‘Embassy’ in the UK

May the European Union have a full diplomacy, on a par with States? This issue has been problematic since 1954, when the European Coal and Steel Community opened its first delegation – in London. Already in 1961, Pescatore wrote that ‘it is clear why the use of the term “diplomatic” to designate the Community’s missions in third…

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Is the EU Engaging in Impermissible Indirect Regulation of UN Action? Controversies over the General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a robust and ambitious framework for the protection of the personal data of natural persons adopted by the European Union in 2016, has found an unlikely stakeholder. On 14 May 2020, the United Nations Secretariat sent an eloquent and detailed set of comments to the European…

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