Los vuelos de Morales no son como los de la CIA

morales en canariasHace dos días Italia, Francia, Portugal y España bloquearon su espacio aéreo al presidente boliviano Evo Morales cuando volaba de vuelta a su país tras una cumbre en Moscú. Según la información periodística, cuando el avión presidencial se aproximaba al espacio francés, le fue denegado el permiso para continuar y el piloto tuvo que echar marcha atrás y aterrizar en Austria a la espera de los permisos correspondientes. Todo parece indicar que esta decisión se basó en la “sospecha” de que Snowden pudiera estar volando con el presidente para refugiarse en el país sudamericano. Según denunció el propio Morales, el embajador español en Austria trató incluso de subir al avión para cerciorarse de que Snowden no estaba dentro.

Al día siguiente, Morales recibió la autorización de los gobiernos europeos para continuar su camino de vuelta a casa, haciendo escala en Canarias. Tanto la diplomacia boliviana como varios líderes políticos sudamericanos criticaron la “prepotencia” del “imperialismo” europeo, calificando el trato recibido por Morales como una “humillación” y un “secuestro”, que además viola la inmunidad diplomática garantizada por el Derecho internacional. Continue reading “Los vuelos de Morales no son como los de la CIA”

Spot the differences between these two constitutional courts

tribunal constitucional alemánIn its ruling of 12 September 2012, the German Constitutional Court approved the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the Fiscal Compact, which envisages the possibility that a country’s budget could be controlled by the European Union if the budget didn’t follow the EU fiscal diet. The petitioners claimed that the ESM and the Fiscal Compact were in contradiction with the German Constitution, since they attempted to limit the national sovereignty over a critical element of public policy, that is, the national budget. Continue reading “Spot the differences between these two constitutional courts”

What comes after Democracy?

German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy are trying hard to reassure investors they can rely on Europe. They announced today their plans to rebuild the European Union. They’ll both meet up early next week to discuss their ideas about fiscal armonisation and budget austerity. A few weeks ago, Italy and Greece changed their leaders. Mario Monti and Lucas Papademos haven´t been victorious at any election, though. They belong to a new type of class: the technocrats. Spaniards did things differently… or kind of. Spain held elections on 20 November, when as expected the conservative PP got back to power after almost eight years in the opposition. Nonetheless, the PP and the then ruling Socialist Party (PSOE) reached an agreement to modify the Constitution in a matter of days in a desperate attempt to calm investors down (read our analysis here in Spanish). No public discussion and no referendum was considered necessary. A few months earlier, Portugal also had national elections in a quite hasty way. Conservatives refused to support former PM Socrates up until their arrival to power (our post). Then they applied the same harsh measures and some more. Portugal has thereby become ‘a case study in the politics of austerity

Europe is moving and there is little evidence that the fundamental changes we are witnessing correspond to truly democratic processes. Continue reading “What comes after Democracy?”

Democratic legitimacy

Prime Minister José Sócrates resigned a few days ago right after the Portuguese Parliament rejected his austerity plans. As a result, new elections will be held in June. Sócrates’s resignation has provoked the last institutional turmoil in Europe: Portugal has finally given up. As the austerity plan did not go trough, the executive decided to announce that Portugal needs external assistance. It thereby became the third country to fall, after Greece and Ireland.

As in the previous two cases, the €80-100 billion worth bail-out is raising questions of political legitimacy. Continue reading “Democratic legitimacy”