Global Governance Summer School students at high-level conference on project aiming to RECONNECT Europe

Yesterday’s sessions of our Georgia Law-Leuven Centre Global Governance Summer School were devoted to a new, 4-year research project aimed at reinvigorating core values of the European Union.

Called RECONNECT: Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law and supported by funds from the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme, the project has just been established by KU Leuven’s Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and 17 partner institutions.

Our summer school’s morning began at a classroom in Leuven, where Michal Ovádek (left), a Leuven Centre PhD candidate and research fellow,  provided an introduction to the structure of, and contemporary challenges, to European Union integration. Among them are the efforts of recently elected governments to undermine judicial independence, free press, and other democratic institutions in Poland and Hungary, as well as the aftermath of the 2016 Brexit referendum, in which a slight majority in the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU.

We then traveled to Brussels’ neoclassical Academy Palace, home to the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts and the site of an afternoon conference launching the RECONNECT project.

Leuven Law Professor Jan Wouters, whose many titles include Director of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and Co-Director of our summer school, opened the conference (top photo). Stating that “the EU and its members are confronted with an existential crisis,” Wouters explained how “RECONNECT will intervene in the public discourse, to build a new narrative for Europe.” The EU can “regain authority and legitimacy through democracy and the rule of law,” he said, “provided citizens’ views taken into account.”

Delivering keynotes were H.E. Didier Reynders, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs & European Affairs – who urged, as a way to reconnect, emphasizing that the EU is not just an economic project, but also based on values and principles – and Dr. Adam Bodnar, Ombudsman of the Republic of Poland.

Two policy roundtables followed:

► “Strengthening Democracy in the European Union,” chaired by Julie Smith and featuring Alberto Alemanno, Richard Youngs, Zselyke Csaky, Vivien Schmidt, Carlos Closa Montero, and Amichai Magen.

► “Addressing Rule of Law Challenges in the EU,” chaired by Laurent Pech and including Tamas Lukacsi, Philip Bittner, Peter Claes, Lotte Leicht, Petra Bárd, and Dimitry Kochenov.

Many speakers revisited developments in countries like Hungary, Poland, and post-Brexit UK, touching on issues ranging from freedom of speech to social media, economic anxiety and political processes. Europe’s responses to global migration both within and outside its borders, was another topic frequently mentioned.

In a particularly moving presentation, Lotte Leicht (3d from right), EU Director for Human Rights Watch, told of seeing, at a middle school where she recently spoke, signs saying “Be Kind” and “Treat One Another as You Want to Be Treated.” Commenting that youths “get it,” she proceeded to outline problems and to welcome innovative solutions.  Yet Leicht cautioned against adopting perceived solutions that would have negative effects:

“It is a redline when we start undermining the rule of law and our obligations under international law.”

Our stay in Leuven concludes tomorrow, after sessions on related to human rights and security governance – and, fittingly, after tomorrow night’s World Cup contest between Belgium and Brazil.

Human rights, criminal justice, NATO, business practice, reception with Georgia Law alums: Global Governance Summer School day 3, Brussels

Professor Amann, Ana Sofie Silveira, Lucia Hakala, Eunjun Kim, Bryant Oliver, Professor Doty, NATO Legal Adviser Steven Hill, Hanna Karimipour, Maddie Neel, Julian Skoruppa, Brooke Carrington, Saif Ahmed, Caroline Harvey, Mills Culver, and Frances Plunkett

BRUSSELS – A variety of briefings in this Belgium capital, and home of many European Union institutions, highlighted day 3 of the Global Governance School that our University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center offers with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies at KU Leuven, one of Europe’s premier research institutions.

Our cohort of students from Georgia Law and multiple European universities first traveled to the Brussels office of No Peace Without Justice (left), a nongovernmental organization founded a quarter-century ago to promote “the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and international justice.” There Alison A. Smith (left), Legal Counsel and Director of the organization’s International Criminal Justice Program, took part in a dialogue on “International Human Rights Lawyering” with Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and one of our Center’s Faculty Co-Directors. Then the organization’s Secretary-General, Niccolò A. Figà-Talamanca, described the Rome diplomatic conference that led to adoption in 1998 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Next, Steven Hill, Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of Legal Affairs at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, outlined the work of his office, where an 8-lawyer team serves as counsel to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenburg and further liaises with NATO lawyers throughout the world. He then discussed key issues likely to be discussed at next week’s NATO Summit. (Preparations for that meeting of member states’ heads of state and government precluded a visit to the new NATO headquarters; we are grateful to the Brussels law firm Van Bael & Bellis for providing the lovely conference room, pictured above, where our students met with Hill.)

Finally, we made our way to the Brussels office of Sidley Austin LLP. There Stephen Spinks (Georgia Law JD’76), a member of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, led a presentation on key areas of global business practice at his office. Spinks is the immediate past managing partner of that office, and a well-known lawyer expert in matters related to EU competition (in effect, antitrust) law and trade law. Assisting in the presentation by Spinks (standing, at left) were 4 additional Sidley lawyers. From left: Dr. Michele Boggiani, who spoke on anti-corruption and life sciences law, Paul Greaves, on data privacy law, Anne Robert, on competition law, and Dr. Bregt Natens, on trade law.

The day concluded with a lively reception that Sidley kindly hosted. Participants included our students, firm attorneys, Center Director Kathleen A. Doty and myself, Sidley attorneys including Wim Nauwelaerts (LLM’94), an alumnus and head of the firm’s data privacy group, plus other Georgia Law graduates. These included: Johan De Bruycker (LLM’90), General Counsel, Ageas, Brussels; Porter Elliott (JD’96), the Van Bael & Bellis partner who helped secure a room for the morning NATO presentation; Daniel J. Felz (JD’09), an associate at Alston & Bird LLP; Professor Erik Franckxx (LLM’83), Professor of Law Director of the Department of International and European Law at Vrije Universiteit Brussel; and Dr. Christof Siefarth (LLM’86), a partner at GÖRG law firm in Cologne, Germany, and member of our Center’s Council.

Our group returns to Brussels tomorrow, to the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, to take part in Reconnect: Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law, a conference kicking off a 4-year-research project among 18 partners, including our partner institution, the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, KU Leuven.

Professor Cohen’s AJIL essay on “Multilateralism’s Life-Cycle” at SSRN

Harlan Grant Cohen, the Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law, has posted a chapter entitled “Multilateralism’s Life-Cycle,” which will appear in a forthcoming issue of volume 112 of the American Journal of International Law.

The manuscript, which forms part of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Research Paper Series at SSRN, may be downloaded at this SSRN link.

Here’s the abstract for this essay by Professor Cohen, an expert in global governance and member of the AJIL Board of Editors:

Does multilateralism have a life-cycle? Perhaps paradoxically, this essay suggests that current pressures on multilateralism and multilateral institutions, including threatened withdrawals by the United Kingdom from the European Union, the United States from the Paris climate change agreement, South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia from the International Criminal Court, and others, may be natural symptoms of those institutions’ relative success. Successful multilateralism and multilateral institutions, this essay argues, has four intertwined effects, which together, make continued multilateralism more difficult: (1) the wider dispersion of wealth or power among members, (2) the decreasing value for members of issue linkages, (3) changing assessment of multilateral institutions’ value in the face of increased effectiveness, and (4) members’ increased focus on relative or positional gains over absolute ones. Exploring how each of these manifests in the world today, this essay suggests that current stresses on multilateralism may best be understood as the natural growing pains of an increasingly mature set of institutions. The open question going forward is what form the next stage of development will take. Will strategies of multilateralism continue or will they be replaced by smaller clubs and more local approaches?

“Judicial Federalism in the European Union,” new article by Professor Wells

Professor Michael Lewis Wells, who holds the Marion and W. Colquitt Carter Chair in Tort and Insurance Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has published an article comparing judicial practice in Europe and the United States. Entitled “Judicial Federalism in the European Union,” it appears at 54 Houston Law Review Winter ​697 (2017).

The manuscript, which forms part of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Research Paper Series at SSRN, may be downloaded at this SSRN link.

Here’s the abstract:

This article compares European Union judicial federalism with the American version. Its thesis is that the European Union’s long-term goal of political integration probably cannot be achieved without strengthening its rudimentary judicial institutions. On the one hand, the EU is a federal system in which judicial power is divided between EU courts, of which there are only three, and the well-entrenched and longstanding member state court systems. On the other hand, both the preamble and Article 1 of the Treaty of Europe state that an aim of the European Union is “creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.” The article argues that central government courts and member state courts are not fungible. In close cases, the latter are more likely than the former to favor the member state’s interests. The EU’s approach to judicial federalism, with its heavy reliance on member state courts, will retard the political integration envisioned by the Treaty. The article develops this thesis by comparing EU judicial federalism with the American variant, which differs from the EU system in two key respects: First, most issues of EU law are adjudicated in the member state courts. In the U.S., a network of lower federal courts adjudicates many federal law issues. Second, the U.S. Supreme Court reviews state court judgments that turn on issues of federal law. The Court of Justice of the European Union does not review member state judgments, even on issues of EU law. The article argues that these aspects of the federal system in the U.S. were indispensable to achieving and maintaining national unity. If the EU aspires to a similar level of political integration, their absence may prove to be a significant obstacle.

Global migration topic of 2-day AILA event our alumna’s helping organize

On behalf of a member of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, we’re pleased to announce an upcoming event:

The American Immigration Lawyers Association Global Migration Section  will host a conference entitled “Global Immigration in a Protectionist World” June 20-21, 2017, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Panel topics include: the future of immigration law from a global perspective, running a global practice, consular processing, European Union immigration directives in light of Brexit, cybersecurity, and global mobility options for LGBT clients.

Alumna and Council member Anita E. J. Ninan (above), who is Of Counsel at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP in Atlanta and Advocate, Bar Council of Delhi, India, serves on the conference committee for this group – which, she writes, is

“the global outbound immigration section of AILA and includes foreign attorneys and legal practitioners as its members.”

Registration (early bird rates end May 10) and further details here.

Amid UK Brexit furor, Consul General stresses Ireland’s solidarity with EU

“Ireland will be committed to the European Union for the long term.”

stephens2That pledge formed the core message of “Ireland, the European Union, and Brexit,” the talk that Shane Stephens, the Irish Consul General in Atlanta, delivered yesterday to students at the University of Georgia School of Law. (Sponsoring were Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, along with the university’s Willson Center for Humanities & Arts and School of Public & International Affairs.) Stephens, who represents Ireland throughout the southeastern United States, continued:

“The European Union is a massively successful peace process, first and foremost. It brought the countries of Europe so close that another war like the 1st and 2d World Wars cannot happen again. It expanded peace, prosperity, and democratic principles. That’s been good for Europe, and good for the world as well.”

The diplomat’s fiercely pro-EU stance contrasts with the current political climate in Ireland’s eastern neighbor and former colonizer – the United Kingdom, where, on June 23 of this year, British voters opted to leave the EU by a margin of 52% to 48%. Brexit hit a snag last week, when Britain’s High Court ruled that only Parliament has the power to take leave from the EU. But that decision awaits appeal to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom; Stephens’ talk proceeded on the assumption that leave eventually would occur.

“Anticipation of Brexit already has had a huge impact in Ireland and the United Kingdom,”

he explained. By way of example, he noted that the value of the pound sterling has plummeted, and that has made Irish crops more costly, and so less desirable, in the British marketplace.

stephens1Stephens predicted that the UK would retain some relationship with the EU, but said its contours would depend on negotiations between the two. Given the anti-immigration sentiment that helped propel “Leave” to victory, a sticking point may be the free movement of workers. Stephens said:

“This is one of the core principles of the EU, one of the things that makes the EU great, in my view.”

(Driving home the point was Mise Éire/I am Ireland, the brief Irish government video that he showed, which reveals diversity in the Irish polity.) Stephens said he expected access to Europe’s single market to remain contingent on acceptance of the freedom of movement, yet surmised that “pragmatic” negotiations might produce a solution to this disagreement.

Brexit poses opportunities as well as challenges for Ireland, Stephens noted. Ireland’s status as a “market-oriented” European country is likely to increase. Its already enjoys strengths in financial technology, pharmaceuticals, and the software industry, with giants like Google having significant presence on the island. In Stephens’ words:

“Ireland is a place where people are happy to work.”

“Tension in globalization”: Professor Harlan G. Cohen on Britain’s EU vote

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Among the University of Georgia experts offering comments on “Brexit,” the June 23 referendum by which Britons voted to leave the European Union by a margin of 52% to 48%, is Professor Harlan G. Cohen.

Cohen, whose expertise includes global governance, foreign affairs law, and trade law, said:

“After the Brexit vote, the one thing that’s predictable is that we’re facing a long period of uncertainty. Yesterday, everyone knew what the rules were. While the rules don’t change today, no one knows what the rules will be in in three months or two years. The terms of trade in goods and services between the U.K. and the rest of the EU, the rights of U.K. citizens to work, to health care, and to travel in other EU countries, intelligence sharing between the U.K. and the other EU governments, and the regulation of any number of industries in the U.K. are now open to debate at home and subject to negotiations abroad. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union lays out a process for withdrawal but subjects everything to negotiation between the U.K. and the other 27 member states. No one can know today where exactly those negotiations will lead.

“More broadly, the Brexit vote highlights the long-recognized tension in globalization. Increasingly, the things we want cannot be achieved and the problems we face cannot be solved by one country alone. They can only be achieved or solved through cooperation and coordination. But as we move key decisions to more regional or global levels, it becomes harder for people to feel that their voice is really being heard, that they really have a say in the rules defining their lives. When those global or regional decisions are controversial, as many EU decisions have been, those who disagree and feel left out are less likely to see the decisions as legitimate. In a modern globally interconnected world, the regulation we need is in constant tension with the governance we want. And it’s not clear that tension can be resolved. There are ways to manage this tension, which many people will be revisiting after the Brexit vote, but their effectiveness is limited.”

His remarks add to the reflections by a Georgia Law student who is a summer Global Extern in London; her thoughts here. (photo credit)