Cleaning up after 2016

von Maximilian Steinbeis

Dear Friends of Verfassungsblog,

the end of this year of 2016 draws close, and relief about that fact, ill-founded as it may be, is palpable wherever I go. It has been a rough ride for constitutionalists, and we all deserve some days of rest and peace, if we can afford it. Therefore, I will spare you with seasonal reviews and reflections on these almost consistently dreadful twelve months past and highlight only one fact hopefully suitable to lift your spirits a bit: Since Brexit, support for European integration has jumped by 5 percent throughout the EU and by 7 percent in the UK, according to a study by Bertelsmann Foundation.

One of the major stories here on Verfassungsblog throughout the year was the constitutional fracas in Poland. TOMASZ KONCEWICZ has time and again kept us abreast in painstaking analyses of the back and forth in the battle over the Constitutional Tribunal. The battle is lost. Do read Tomek’s comprehensive account, it is really worth it. And should you believe that this brand of constitutional capture in the name of national identity is a phenomenon typical only for the post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, you may want to pay heed to BALÁZS MAJTÉNYI’s warnings from Hungary.

Meanwhile, the EU Commission has come to the conclusion that the headstrong Polish government deserves another two months time to overcome their reluctance to adhere to the rule of law. Now, as they have won the fight already and the Constitutional Tribunal is firmly under their control, I wouldn’t rule out that the PiS actually will formally concede to the recommendations of the Commission, thereby making Brussels look like spine- and hapless fools all over again. Anyway, we will see how that goes, and I am very much looking forward to another piece by KIM SCHEPPELE and LAURENT PECH who will deliver a poignant analysis of the EU policy towards Poland by the beginning of January ...

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