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Explosive case, cautious ruling: The CJEU prudently favours cooperation in the Puig case

On 31 January 2023, the CJEU issued its much-awaited ruling on the Puig case. The case primarily concerned the surrender of Catalan exile Lluís Puig Gordi, former Catalan minister of Culture in Belgium since October 2017, but bore serious implications for other Catalan exiles targeted by international and European Arrest Warrant (EAW). In August 2020, the Brussels Court of first instance determined there would be a risk of human rights violation should Puig be sent back to Spain and refused the surrender. This was confirmed by the indictment chamber in January 2021. In turn, the Spanish Supreme Court introduced a preliminary ruling request to the CJEU challenging the Belgian refusal. In its 31 January decision, the CJEU eventually sided with the Spanish Supreme Court and ruled that cooperation should prevail. It nevertheless left the door open for national courts to refuse to execute future EAWs in the Catalan case, as these courts have consistently done so far. 1. The long saga of the failed extradition requests for Catalan exiles in short…

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The EU boycott of Russian scientists and the right to science in the shadow of Ukraine’s invasion

The Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine has brought back the issue of scientific freedom and the protection of scientists developing military technology. The day after the invasion, Germany froze bilateral science partnerships with the Russian Federation. A slew of European countries quickly followed suit, and some restrictions have been expanded to include Belarus. Russia’s participation in…

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Tilting the Playing Field

“Levelling the playing field” has been one of the buzzwords of the European Union (EU)’s external economic policy over the last few years. In essence, through various instruments including free trade agreements, the EU has been trying to ensure that foreign entities, goods and services are subject to similar regulatory burdens as their EU counterparts when engaging in…

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The EU’s Inconsistent Approach towards Sustainability Treaties: Due diligence legislation v. trade policy

In February 2022 the European Commission launched a proposal for an EU corporate sustainability due diligence directive (‘CSDDD proposal’). Companies will be mandated, under threat of sanctions, to monitor adverse impacts that may arise throughout their value chain from violations of a series of sustainability treaties: that is, treaties on human rights, labor and the environment. These…

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A Little Threat from My Friends: An EU-based Company Contemplates Taking War-Torn Ukraine to Investment Arbitration

On 18 August 2022, the Bureau of Economic Security of Ukraine (ESBU) seized the assets of one of Ukraine’s largest fuel retailers, AMIC Ukraine, the local subsidiary of AMIC Energy, an Austrian private equity firm. The Ukrainian authorities acted on charges of tax fraud, money laundering, and – above all – the company’s alleged connection…

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