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Access to constitutional complaint procedures: A real chance?

Remarks on the availability of legal aid in constitutional court procedures in Austria, Germany and Hungary

Hungarian Journal of Legal Studies
Author: Ágnes Váradi

Abstract

In a recent decision, the European Court of Human Rights concluded that the constitutional complaint before the Hungarian Constitutional Court can be seen as an effective domestic remedy. This decision shows the growing role of constitutional complaint procedures even in the international system of human rights protection; therefore, it is worth examining how national laws ensure efficient access to such procedures. The current paper aims to analyse a specific aspect of this complex problem, namely, the question of legal aid in constitutional court proceedings – particularly constitutional complaints procedures – in Germany, Austria and Hungary. As a general staring point, it is intended to derive the need for legal aid from the national constitutions, followed by an analysis on the availability of legal aid schemes for constitutional complaint procedures and their conditions. The examination is based on the national legal provisions and case-law, as well as the relevant secondary literature. This comparative study can enable some conclusions to be drawn on the question of how constitutional complaints can become more efficient tools in the protection of fundamental rights for those in need, as well.

Open access

Abstract

This paper discusses the system of minority protection of the League of Nations. Minority protection occupied a prominent place on the League’s agenda, which developed a significant expertise in the field. The League’s system of minority protection is often regarded as an experiment. With regard to both material and procedural aspects this assessment is certainly correct. In particular, minority protection based upon legally binding treaties and declarations gave rise to the question of how individual and group rights should be treated within the frame of an international political organization. The paper further examines whether at least some of the elements of the League’s minority protection system still persist in the context of contemporary international human rights law.

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Abstract

The paper is devoted to the role of the head of state in initiating and implementing constitutional reforms in Senegal. This country can legitimately be regarded as one of the few examples of a relatively successful democratization process in Africa, as evidenced, among other things, by the lack of military coups leading to the loss of power by civilian governments, as well as by two democratic transfers of power (in 2000–2001 and 2012), after which the main opposition parties gained the presidency and the majority of parliamentary seats. Both these fundamental political transformations generated important constitutional changes (for example, the adoption of the current Constitution of 2001, or the constitutional modifications of 2016 and 2019) that have influenced, to a greater or lesser extent, the position of the presidency in Senegalese systems of government. The author analyses their significance for the functioning of contemporary political institutions in the broader context set by the politics of constitutional amendment which was conducted by previous presidents of this country. The main goal of the paper is to examine to what extent the constitutional modifications introduced before and after the adoption of the 2001 Constitution were designed to contribute to the beginning or consolidation of pro-democratic trends, and to what extent they were created to strengthen the position of an incumbent president himself, leading to a political imbalance and regress in the democratization process. The author argues that the constitutional modifications adopted over the years have often gone in two opposite directions, influencing the efficiency and durability of Senegalese institutional structures.

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A COVID–19 járvány hatása a leghátrányosabb helyzetű településeken élők mindennapjaira: ahogy a hátrányos helyzetűek és a szociális szolgáltatásokat nyújtók látják

The effects of Covid-19 on the everyday life of people living in the most disadvantaged areas: as they and professionals in the social service sector see

Scientia et Securitas
Authors: Beáta Dávid, Tünde Szabó, Éva Huszti, and István Bukovics

Összefoglaló. Jelen tanulmányunk a biztonság társadalmi aspektusait egy speciális csoport, a mélyszegénységben élő családok és az őket segítő szakemberek körében vizsgálja a COVID–19 idején. Kvalitatív módszerrel (csoportos és egyéni interjúk) a makro- (szociális támogatórendszer) és a mikrotársadalmi biztonság dimenziók összefüggését, valamint a mikroszintű biztonság dimenziók közti viszonyokat elemezzük. Ez utóbbi dimenziók leírásánál a kisgyermekes családok munkaerőpiaci és ezzel együtt anyagi helyzetére, mentális egészségi állapotukra, valamint az oktatási helyzet bemutatására koncentrálunk. Az egyes témák leírásánál az érintett családok és az őket segítő szakemberek helyzetértékelése is megjelenik a velük készített interjúk elemzése alapján.

Summary. This study examines the social aspects of security among a specific group of families living in extreme poverty and the professionals helping them during Covid-19. Using a qualitative method (group and individual interviews), we analyse the relationship between macro (social support system) and micro social dimensions of security, as well as the linkages between micro-level dimensions of security. In describing the latter dimensions, we will focus on the labour market situation of families with young children, and hence on their financial situation, their mental health situation and their educational situation. The description of each theme also includes an assessment of the situation of the families concerned and the professionals who help them, based on an analysis of the interviews conducted with them. In the first phase of the study, social problems were identified on the basis of interviews with experts. In the second phase, individual interviews were conducted with the people concerned, the disadvantaged. 11 interviews were conducted with experts: 5 individual and 6 group interviews. In the second phase, 50 disadvantaged people were interviewed individually.

In general, it can be concluded that the daily life of people living in disadvantaged areas has been further affected by the pandemic. The labour market situation has changed and, in this context, the financial situation of the interviewees has further deteriorated. Single-parent families were particularly affected by these problems. The transition to online education has created difficulties for families, children, and teachers and additional tasks for social workers. In many places, the lack of accessible services, the low availability of equipment and low level of digital literacy have prevented distance learning from taking place, and the negative consequences for the population under study can only be predicted. The epidemic has affected the population not only financially but also mentally. The reduction in social life has led to an increase in domestic violence. In some areas, the number of births in disadvantaged families has increased, especially among minors. In fact, the epidemic has brought to the surface the problems that disadvantaged people face on a daily basis: unemployment and deprivation, compounded by educational underachievement. The workload of those working in the social field has also become more visible: a shortage of staff and a lack of resources. At the same time, the enormous potential and flexibility of the current human resources have been revealed.

Open access

A globális, az európai uniós vírusválság határpolitikai hatásai.

Államhatárok régi-új szerepben a Kárpát-medencében, 2020–2021

The border policy effects of the global and EU virus crises.

State borders in old and new role in the Carpathian Basin, 2020–2021
Scientia et Securitas
Author: Zoltán Hajdú

Összefoglaló. Az elmúlt mintegy másfél év alatt a COVID–19 vírus valójában több struktúrában megrengette a világot, az Európai Uniót és egyes országokat is. A világ államai rövid idő alatt bezárkóztak, az Európai Unió 30 napra lezárta külső határait, az egyes tagállamok pedig az uniós belső határokat is lezárták. Veszélybe került a schengeni rendszer. A Kárpát-medence államai az elsők között reagáltak a határok lezárásával. Az egyéni döntések kritikája erőteljesen megjelent az Európai Bizottság részéről. A globális, az európai és a szomszédállami folyamatok összefüggtek. A határok lezárása feltehetően hozzájárult a vírus terjedésének a korlátozásához. (Ausztrália példája ezt erősíti.) A határzárak a nemzetközi tranzitforgalomban, a határ menti területeken élők és az ingázók között okozták a legnagyobb bizonytalanságot, több esetben zűrzavart.

Summary. According to the first ‘official announcement’ in December of 2019 the Covid-19 virus is reported to have emerged in China. The global spread of the virus was extremely fast. On 11 March 2020, the WHO declared Covid-19 to be a global pandemic. As of 31 March 2020 about 91% of the world population lived in countries with border and travel restrictions (border-closed world). The brief analysis reviews the main processes affecting EU and Member States borders, with a special regard to Hungary and its neighbours in the Carpathian Basin. On 17 March 2020, the EU closed its external borders for 30 days.to non-EU citizens. In parallel, a number of Member States decided to close their borders to both Schengen Zone members and third countries. As a response to border closures, the EU Commission and some states organized the repatriation of about 600,000 EU citizens. On 4 March, virus was officially reported to have been detected in Hungary. On 11 March the Hungarian Government declared a national state of emergency. On 15 March the first coronavirus-related death was announced. On 16 March the Government ordered the complete closure of Hungarian borders. After a border ‘traffic chaos’ along the Austrian-Hungarian border, the Hungarian Government – with collaborations with Romania – opened humanitarian corridors for foreign citizens. The possibilities of border crossings of citizens of seven neighbours of Hungary were formed not just by Hungary. In 2020 because of different changes (modifications, opening and closing) we could form at least three categories: open borders, partly open borders, closed borders. In the neighbouring countries (Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia) the progression of the epidemic followed the same pattern. Over the past year and a half the virus crisis has actually shaken many structures of the globalized world, the European Union and many countries in the Carpathian Basin. The virus crises has disrupted intensive connections between Hungary and neighbouring countries. Neither Hungary nor its neighbours were able to insulate themselves from the epidemic waves. The border restrictions primarily affected the movements of persons. Because of ‘permanent uncertainty’ commuters were the losers of the crisis.

Open access

Iparági sérülékenység a pandémia tükrében

Industrial vulnerability in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic

Scientia et Securitas
Authors: Zsuzsanna Hauck, Tamás Vasvári, and József Vörös

Összefoglaló. Jelen tanulmányban a termelési folyamatokat, valamint statisztikai adatokat elemezve azt vizsgáljuk, hogy a pandémia során milyen hatások érték az inputokat, magát a termelést, az outputokat, illetve hogyan változtak meg olyan versenyprioritási tényezők, mint az idő, a minőség vagy a rugalmasság. Mivel a rövidebb, a kevésbé komplex és rugalmasabb értékláncok válságállóbbnak tűnnek, ez felgyorsíthatja az ellátási láncok regionalizációját, amit tovább fokoz, hogy a termelőszektor gyors visszarendeződésével szemben a szolgáltató ágazatoknak elhúzódó kilábalással kell szembenézniük. Ezért azt is megvizsgáltuk, hogy az egyes országok ellenálló képessége függ-e a termelő szektor méretétől. Eredményeink alapján, ahol nagyobb az ipar aránya, ott gyorsabban képes a gazdaság talpra állni, ami újabb lökést adhat a fejlett államok iparfejlesztési törekvéseinek.

Summary. The coronavirus epidemic posed challenges to all. However, with proper discipline, increased efficiency and adaptability, companies and economies can emerge stronger from this situation. In this study, we examine vulnerability of industries along three dimensions according to the general model of production complemented by aggregate statistics from Eurostat.

In terms of procurement, shorter value chains seem more resilient than complex and long supply chains. Supplier risks may be also mitigated by increasing the number of suppliers of critical inputs. The costs and risks of transporting goods are also increasing. 90% of industrial products are involved in international trade, mostly transported through maritime shipping that faces significant increase in tariffs, and the difficulty of replacing crews could lead to further disruptions to the operation of maritime routes. Thus, it is not surprising that the pandemic has increased the issue of supply chain flexibility and simplification, and has drawn attention to the importance of inventories and input replacement. Companies may consider to diversify production sites or even reshore or nearshore their production.

The rate of recovery varies in each sector: in services requiring a personal presence, such as tourism, the sudden economic downturn is followed by a slow growth, contrary to the rapid rebound of industrial production. Therefore, countries with significant manufacturing will witness V-shaped recovery, while higher reliance on services is characterized by slower and longer L-shaped scenario. Thus, the pandemic also pointed out that industrial production is key in a national economy: besides that industrial innovations increase productivity (and living standards) and manufacturing functions also have a significant multiplier effect on the service sector, manufacturing also has significant resistance against a pandemic. This could give a further push to the ongoing industrial development programs of developed economies such as Germany, the United States, or the European Union. At the same time, services that are able to move online show no decline, while service requiring a personal presence may struggle in the long run. Overall, structural changes are inevitable and companies have to adapt to the novel consuming and working preferences.

Open access

Környezetbiztonság – jövő nemzedékek védelme – elővigyázatosság

Environmental security – protection of future generations – precaution

Scientia et Securitas
Author: Gyula Bándi

Összefoglaló. A biztonságpolitika és a környezetvédelem egyre fontosabbá váló közös kérdése a környezetbiztonság, a környezettel összefüggésben jelentkező veszélyhelyzetek, konfliktusok, válságok kezelése, lehetőség szerint megelőzése, hiszen azok a környezeti, társadalmi, gazdasági rendszerek stabilitását súlyosan megzavarják. Környezetbiztonságról akkor kerül szó, amikor a környezet terhelése, erőforrások felhasználása az elfogadhatónak tartott mértéket meghaladja. Erre példa, amikor ez környezeti migrációt vált ki vagy közreműködik vírusok terjedésében. Kiemelt kérdéseink egyike a jövő nemzedékek biztonságának veszélyeztetése, akiknek sorsa a mai generációk kezében van, számunkra jelent tehát kötelezettségeket. Az egyre szélesebb értelmet nyerő fenntartható fejlődés gondolata is e köré épül, erkölcsi értéket is megjelenítve egyben. A környezetvédelem és egyidejűleg a környezetbiztonság rendelkezésére álló számos eszköz, intézmény sorában – második részletesebben vizsgált kérdésként – előkelő helye van az elővigyázatosság elvének, hozzásegítve, hogy a lehető legkorábban próbáljuk kezelni a kockázatot jelentő helyzeteket, nem várva a teljes tudományos bizonyosságra azok létét illetően. Kiemelt témáink révén képet kapunk a kérdéskör komplexitásáról, sajátos összefüggéseinek rendszeréről, elhelyezve mindezt a környezetbiztonság egészében.

Summary. Environmental security is unquestionably a vital element of both security and environmental policy, having a growing importance. This covers the management of conflicts, connected with environmental problems, the prevention and managing of crisis situations, which might seriously threaten the stability of environmental, social and economic systems in local, regional, national and global level. We may even assume that the effects of environmental degradation might always lead to possible conflicts, but the major delimitation is the extent. For example, one may mention environmental migration or the environmental implications of the current pandemic, due to the uncontrolled interaction between mankind and the natural environment. Environmental protection is a part of sustainable development, having ecological orientation. The most important constituents of sustainable development are inter- and intragenerational equity, both having a fundamental moral value. Environmental security is not only the enigma of the current generation but is connected to a great extent with the interests of future generations, who have no real influence on their own situation, as their destiny is in the hands of the current generation. The most suitable response should be to indicate the obligations of the current generation to protect the rights of the next ones. The Fundamental Law of Hungary is clear in this respect, placing future generations in the centre, among others in Article P). The substance of these references is clarified in the decisions of the Constitutional Court, using among others non-retrogression principle as a starting point. The latest decisions also refer to the precautionary principle as a major point of reference, which is a rational tool for both environmental security issues and for the protection of the rights of future generations. The precautionary principle means that we should control risky situations at the earliest possible stage, preceding the duty of prevention, not waiting till the full scientific certainty becomes reality. This requirement should form the basis of any activity having the chance for significant pollution, degradation, or generating a crisis situation. According to the Constitutional Court even the state – which has a primary responsibility in this respect – must take special care for the careful assessment of risks and should take all the available measures to avoid negative consequences. The Court also underlined that the precautionary principle has a constitutional character, based upon the rights of future generations.

Open access

A leprától a spanyolnátháig.

Szemelvények a medicina egyetemes és magyar vonatkozásaiból, kitekintéssel annak hadtörténeti vonatkozásaira az első világháborúig

Leprosy to Spanish Fever.

Excerpts of the Universal and Hungarian Aspects of Medicine with a View to their Military-Historical Aspects
Scientia et Securitas
Authors: Katalin Mária Kincses and Sándor Szakály

Összefoglaló. A tanulmány az egyetemes és magyar medicina járványtörténeti és hadtörténeti összefüggéseit vizsgálja történeti példák alapján, a kérdés fontosabb vonatkozásainak vázlatát igyekszik megrajzolni. A szerzők megállapítják, hogy a járványtörténet az orvostörténetnek egyik azon fejezete, amelyik a hadtörténelemhez is szorosan kapcsolódik, ily módon a téma a tágabb értelemben vett, korszakokon átívelő védelempolitika tárgykörébe is illeszkedik. A felsorakoztatott példák rávilágítanak, hogy a járványok természetszerűleg a háborúk kísérői voltak, ugyanakkor azok terjedéséhez is hozzájárultak. Az európai társadalmak a történeti korokban a legnagyobb járványokat intézményi szinten csak a katonaság bevonásával, valamint már a középkortól kezdve egészen a legutóbbi időkig csak katonai szigorúságú intézkedésekkel voltak képes megfékezni.

Summary. The foundations of modern medicine were formed during the Enlightenment. Medical treatment in Europe took its present form in the second half of the 19th century, when healing based on observations, experience, idealistic philosophical theories and beliefs were supplanted by medicine based on scientific empiricism due to the turbulent development and specialization of natural sciences. Today, healing is based on basic laboratory research. Hygiene, supported by bacteriological research, has come to the fore in clinical practice. The healing network (hospitals, medical institutions and healing society in general, from doctors to caregivers) and the public health insurance system have been established.

The history of human conflicts coincides with the history of medicine. The history of war and the epidemics that have plagued humanity are an extreme form of both of these. A common feature between ancient and modern societies is that their greatest public health challenge is/was caused by infectious and epidemic diseases, which are/were the leading cause of mortality from time to time. The authors cite examples from epidemiological history and solution strategies in Europe and Hungary. The history of epidemics in the Middle Ages, Early Modern and Modern Ages is one of the chapters of medical history closely related to military history. In this way, the topic naturally fits into the scope of defense policy (military) in a broader sense, spanning the epochs. The examples show that epidemics not only accompanied the wars, but that the movement of soldiers also caused large-scale epidemics in Europe to a large extent or facilitated their spread. At the same time, the solution was in the hands of the armies, the military administration. In the Middle and Early Modern Ages, the only effective way to deal with epidemics, i.e., quarantine, could be implemented and maintained only with the participation of military forces.

In Europe, epidemic management has been changing since the 18th century. At the same time, the greatest epidemics from the 18th century until the end of the First World War could only be curbed at the institutional level with the broad involvement of the army. Military mentality and rigor have been reflected (in a good sense) in effective epidemic management in European culture. From the Middle Ages to the present day, the management and possible curbing of major epidemics, in addition to extensive vaccination efforts, could have been maintained only with the participation of the military.

Open access

A magyar állampénzügyi rendszer rezilienciája a COVID–19 járvány kapcsán

Resilience of the Hungarian public finance system in relation to the COVID-19 epidemic

Scientia et Securitas
Author: Csaba Lentner

Összefoglaló. A COVID–19 járvány a magyar gazdaság teljesítményeit és pénzügyi egyensúlyát is gyengítette, ám a korábbról stabil államháztartási alapok következtében a negatív hatások csak átmenetinek vélelmezhetők. Magyarország 2010–2019 között egy sikeres állampénzügyi reformot hajtott végre, amely jó alapot ad a válság elleni védekezéshez. Ugyanakkor a járványválság még erősebben ráirányítja a figyelmet a magyar nemzetgazdaság versenyképességének erősebb javítására, az infláció fékezésére, a költségvetési egyensúly megfelelő keretek között tartására, és a kis- és középvállalati szektor mérethatékonyságának növelésére. A tanulmány bemutatja a válság alatti fiskális és jegybanki intézkedések vázát, és egyúttal utal a válság utáni időszak kihívásaira, amelyek a nemzetközi térből, s különösen a jegybanki politika megváltozásából fakadnak.

Summary. The COVID-19 epidemic hit the position of the otherwise strong Hungarian economy. We could see an economic downturn and financial imbalance developed in the last one and half years. As in the recovery (post-crisis) period of the 2010 decade, the crisis is being addressed with the active involvement of the state and the central bank. However, in the course of managing the crisis, it arises that on the new growth trajectory to be built after the recovery period, the competitiveness aspects, especially in the small and medium-sized enterprise category, which plays a major role in Hungary, should be more efficient than in the previous decade. It is necessary to improve the size efficiency, liquidity and capital efficiency of the SME sector by means of fiscal regulation, and the allocation of state resources should be more strongly linked to the requirements of export capacity and innovative business conduct.

The decade after the 2007–2008 crisis – the previous recovery period – was characterized by the weak enforcement of fiscal policies in regulating and improving competitiveness, especially in Hungary, where change is essential. After 2013, Hungarian monetary policy also caught up with the international practice of quantitative easing, achieving significant results in improving both the financial balance and economic growth. However, the previous quantitative easing of the central bank, as well as the increase of budget expenditures on epidemiological expenditures, investments, normative budget annual subsidies from the European Union and subsidies from the European Reconstruction Fund, and even investment loans from our Eastern economic partners, generates an overheated economy, inflationary pressures, and external and balance of payments deficits. Added to this is the wage dynamics of the population, and the permanent and even increasing disbursement of family benefits during the crisis.

All in all, in the 2020s we will face a new financial-debt crisis, unemployment and labor shortage problems, the competitiveness problems of the small business sector, culminating in the reorganization of the world economy, new competitiveness aspects, it will be a rather complex task. Thus, the turn of competitiveness that has essentially failed in the context of an abundance of resources and consolidated macroeconomic conditions (2010-2019) must be implemented “uphill”, it is only the time, will and opportunity to take its first steps. But the main lesson of the crises caused by the epidemics (also) is that the remaining economic entities have become stronger. And perhaps there is a chance to avoid falling into the trap of medium development through a new central bank policy that moderates inflation and truly enforces modernization considerations, as well as improving financial positions and improving economic positions (competitiveness).

Open access

Önkormányzati kommunikáció a COVID-19 világjárvány okozta krízishelyzetben

Local government communication in a crisis situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic

Scientia et Securitas
Authors: Nóra Baranyai, Boglárka Barsi, and Márta Nárai

Összefoglaló. A COVID–19-járvány kezelésében az önkormányzatok kiemelkedő szerepet kaptak. Tanulmányunkban azt kívánjuk bemutatni, hogy ebben a krízishelyzetben, a járvány magyarországi három hulláma során az önkormányzatok milyen módon kommunikáltak különböző online felületeken (települési honlapok, települési és polgármesteri Facebook-oldalak) a lakossággal. A változó járványhelyzet, a reagálás gyorsaságának szükségessége felhívta a figyelmet arra, hogy milyen fontos az önkormányzatok és a lakosok közötti kommunikáció, illetve az új kommunikációs csatornák alkalmazása. A településtípusok között nem mutatkozott nagy különbség a kommunikáció mikéntjére, jellegzetességeire vonatkozóan, bár a feladatmennyiséget tekintve nyilván más-más kihívásokkal kellett az eltérő méretű önkormányzatoknak szembenézniük.

Summary. Local governments had a key and prominent role in tackling COVID-19 pandemic. Their task was to take short-term measures quickly, to organize protection and care for those in need. The main objective of our paper is to present, how local governments communicated with their inhabitants on various online interfaces in this crisis situation. Our analysis covers 54 settlements representing all the different levels of the settlement network from large cities to small villages. We examined the webpages and Facebook pages of local governments and mayors, firstly during the first wave, then during the second and the third waves of the pandemic.

Recognizing their responsibility, local governments clearly tried to provide all the information to the inhabitants as quickly as possible. They considered the online interfaces the most effective, but the online communication had typically been complemented by information published on more traditional channels as well. There were no significant difference in terms of the way and characteristics of communication among the different types of settlements, although local governments of different sizes obviously had to face different challenges in terms of the amount of tasks they had to tackle.

The communication process was a very difficult task because of the lack of information and the not entirely transparent data provision. Even on the Facebook pages especially suitable for this purpose, interactivity rumbled, and in many cases the questions and suggestions of the inhabitants remained unanswered. It is instructive that, with few exceptions, local authorities do not place emphasis on surveying local needs and opinions.

The full range of measures and contact with the public cannot be evaluated from local governmental online communication, but it can be said that the publication of information has changed thematically and has significantly declined in volume and frequency since the first month of the epidemic in March 2020. There were local governments that performed excellently in online communication, i.e. they published regular and relevant information, but there were also some (mainly small settlements) that did not use these channels at all or after a while. The latter may be explained by the fact that the population of the settlement – due to its age composition or the characteristics of Internet use – can be effectively informed mainly through other, traditional channels. There is little doubt that the lack of information available to local governments, declining local empowerment, and growing central management in epidemic management may also have resulted in less and less communication at the local level.

Open access