Trade agreements and politics – bad romance?

Open trade bad idea

In the media, we see some surprised responses to the fact that the Walloon parliament in southern Belgium is able to veto an international trade agreement on behalf of Belgium. This concerns the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) closed between the EU and Canada. The surprise does not come from the fact that people or parliamentarians oppose to big trade agreements, but rather that the Walloon parliament is able to resist to such an agreement, being a regional (and not a national) legislature. However, this is not so surprising when we take a closer look at the Belgian constitutional system and its current political climate.

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…in the year of election – what happens?


hillarytrump

Each year, on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, The Americans elect their public officials. However, upcoming Tuesday 8 November is a special Election Day. Not only will the next President of the United States be elected, but also the new Members of the House of Representatives as well as one third of the Senators. Due to different election methods however, the party who wins the presidential elections does not automatically gains a majority in the two houses. This is what happens.

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Pikachu, get out of my garden! – can a virtual reality be the cause for damage compensation?

Picatchu

The worldwide phenomenon that is called Pokémon Go is not only an interesting hype from a sociological perspective, but also from a legal point of view. The virtual reality game seems innocent at first glance: people are trying to catch Pokémon on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and get some fresh air as a side effect. However, due to the fact that the players only pay attention to their smartphone, and not to their surroundings, some serious things have happened. These include traffic jams, car crashes, and even the loss of life. It is only a mater of time before the first court cases against the creators of Pokémon Go are filed.

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The freedom to bear arms and remove a burkini – what is freedom?

the right to bear arms to remove a burkini.jpeg

‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun’ is a famous quote of the President of the National Rifle Association (Wayne LaPierre) that embodies the debate on owning weapons in the U.S. Supporters claim that the right to bear arms is a Constitutional right, which even extends to students who should be able to wear a gun while going to college. Opponents claim that this right is the cause for so many school shootings, and want to restrict the free circulation of weapons.

In this blog I do not wish to repeat that discussion or comment on it. Instead, I would like to reflect on the underlying dispute, which is actually about the fundamental meaning of the word ‘freedom’. The ‘right to bear arms’-discussion says it all: should someone have the right to protect her/himself against evil, or should someone have the right to live in a society in which this is not necessary?

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To ban the Quran? – some legal advise for Wilders

What do we need to ban the Quran

In their latest party programme, the Dutch Party of Freedom is proud to limit the seize of their programme to only one page. The content does not really come as a surprise though. However, I am still intrigued when I read a party’s desire to ban a particular religious book. It is the goal of the PVV (Party of Freedom) to ban the Holy Quran from Dutch soil. While this is nothing new, the popularity of this party is greater than ever.

Therefore, it seems a good idea to help mister Wilders with some legal advise in what he should do to actually ban this holy book by law

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The case of open trade – and why it is such a good idea

Open trade good idea

Free trade is a heatedly debated issue in politics and the media. The political sensitivity of the topic creates a maelstrom of arguments in favour and against open trade, in which statistics and arguments are thrown around without much second guessing or academic underpinning. Depending on the political colour of your newspaper, the media will choose to show you the pro’s or con’s of open trade. This even possibly results in the queer situation that
two newspapers (The Economist and The Guardian, on the 4th of January 2014) draw completely different conclusions on the functioning of the NAFTA on exactly the same date. While all this arguing and reasoning may have at the core some truth in it, I think we need to step back a bit to truly consider the real benefits of open trade.

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