Monthly Archives: July 2013

Fracking litigation in France – Reference to the Constitutional Court

gavc law - geert van calster

It has been reported that the challenge to the French moratorium on shale gas exploration, by US firm Schuepbach Energy, has been referred to the Constitutional Court. Schuepbach had initially challenged the freezing effect of the 2011 ban on the permits which the firm had been granted erlier in 2011, before the lower administrative court at Cergy Pontoise. This court referred for judicial review to the Conseil d’Etat, which now has passed the file on to the Constitutional Court.

I have difficulty getting hold of the official court documents. Reports suggest that the challenge is based on Articles 16 and 17 of the French Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen, dealing cq with the separation of powers and the right to property.

The French challenge comes amidst the imminent publication of the report commissioned by the European Commission into the suitability, or not, of the current legal…

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Issue 3: “Five-eyed Snoopy” – State on State intelligence gathering and confidential trade secrets.

EU Perspectives

In this third issue on privacy we are entering into the world of spying – which is quite distinct to the issues on privacy discussed in earlier posts.

Given that the EU has no “Homeland Security” or MI5/MI6 types milling outside the Berlaymont building what is the EU perspective on spying?  The EU, after all, is not a State it has no traditional executive branch and no military or intelligence services on which to lean.

The reason the EU takes an interest in spying is because it is an economic power-house. According to 2012 figures, the GDP of the European Union was $ 15,970,000,000,000 compared to the US’s $ 15,940,000,000,000, making the EU the wealthiest region in the world – ahead of the US and China.

The US, China, South America, Israel etc. may not give a flying fig what the EU has to say on the Middle-East, what it’s…

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Toxic policy-making? Rotterdam ‘bans’ the use of Roundup

gavc law - geert van calster

It is being reported (this link in Dutch only however I suspect the international media will pick up on this soon) this morning that the city of Rotterdam has ‘banned’ the use of Roundup (Monsanto’s flagship herbicide). I was not able at this stage to get confirmation of what has actually been decided. My intuition however tells me what was had happened is not so much a ‘ban’ on the use of Round-up on Rotterdam territory. Rather, I imagine, a decision of the local council no longer to use Roundup in keeping pavements weed-free. A procurement or garden management decision, in other words.

The news caught my eye for I have an interest  in the legality of local (or other) bans on the use of products which have otherwise been approved by EU (such as in this case: EU approval of glyphosate) or national authorities. See e.g. here (but with…

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Lessons learned from ACTA – European Commission transparency on TTIP

gavc law - geert van calster

The European Commission (EC) has just published its position papers on a number of key aspects of the TTIP negotiations (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States). The move is unprecedented: one does not normally get an insight into the EC’s point of view on core aspects of a crucial international trade negotiation, this early in the proceedings. One must not be naive, of course. Red lines are not given away in the documents. Nevertheless, the EC would seem to have learnt its lessons from the ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) debacle, in which (unfounded, in my view) accusations of backroom deals and intransparency  assisted the European Parliament in scuppering EU ratification of the Agreement.

The sectors covered in the current papers, are Cross-cutting & institutional provisions on regulatory issues; Technical barriers to trade; Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (i.e. barriers to trade in food and agricultural products); Public…

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