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Rafael Leal-Arcas

This chapter examines the need for the EU Council to maintain more transparency in its key function of holding EU trade policy accountable. The EU Council represents the will of the EU Member States, as opposed to the will of the people, which is represented by the European Parliament (EP). It consists of government ministers from all the EU countries. The Council meets regularly to take detailed decisions and to pass European laws. The Council is the decision-maker. Therefore, it issues ‘directives for negotiation’ to guide the Commission in its work. It is also the Council which ultimately decides whether or not to adopt an agreement. The chapter also analyses the role of the EP in trade policy, the changes proposed by the EU Constitutional Treaty, and the role of national parliaments.

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Rafael Leal-Arcas

After the adoption of the Nice Treaty, EU Member States felt the need to call a Convention on the Future of Europe, inter alia, to further extend voting by qualified majority in the EU Council. One of the main motivations to resume the work done at the Nice Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) was the risk of blocking the EU institutions after enlargement. The Convention on the Future of Europe tried to reduce as much as possible the areas where EU Member States retain their veto power. With reference to trade policy, two main factors were taken into consideration in this effort to reduce the areas of veto power: one external, i.e., the Doha Round, and another one internal, i.e., the 2004 EU enlargement. The Doha Round, which was the background to both the Convention on the Future of Europe as it had been to the 2000 Intergovernmental Conference, was a reminder to EU Member States of the need for efficient and speedy decision-making if the EC was to make a major contribution to global trade negotiations. As for the second factor, the 2004 EU enlargement was perceived as a rationale for greater centralization of decision-making in the common commercial policy, for fear that 25 veto powers of EU Member States would lead to Europaralysis.

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Azin Tadjdini

What is the role of domestic constitutions in the preservation and promotion of peace? A State’s promotion of positive and negative peace, policies that place peace at risk, and direct acts of violence, whether internal or external, are all political decisions. As the most political legal document of a country, establishing the foundations upon which policies must take place, constitutions will play a significant role in setting the framework for whether and how such decisions are made, and their legitimacy. While this chapter falls short of providing a comprehensive analysis of the constitutional dimension of peace, it will highlight some of the factors that are relevant in such an analysis, in particular by identifying some of the constitutional features that would either strengthen or weaken conditions for peace.

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Duc A. Nguyen and Michael J. Garvin

Public_private partnerships (PPPs) are multilateral transactions implemented via contract over long time horizons. Uncertainty is at the root of many long-term contractual issues, such as incentive allocation, high transaction costs and opportunism. Thus, managing uncertainty in PPP contracts is essential over a project’s life cycle, and risk sharing methods are one approach for addressing such uncertainty. This chapter examines 15 risk sharing mechanisms in 21 United States highway PPP contracts to determine whether these mechanisms were designed through ex ante specification or for ex post resolution. Risk sharing strategies ranged from “event” mechanisms to deductible schemes; the former forego ex ante costs but anticipate ex post, while the latter do the opposite. Findings showed that risk sharing strategies relying on ex post resolution were predominant, so these contracts may incur significant transaction costs in operations. Yet, such strategies provide implicit flexibility to address uncertainty as it resolves.

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Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead and Rosalia Vazquez-Alvarez

This first chapter, as an introduction to the whole book, summarises how growing inequality in Europe may have emerged from mechanisms in the world of work, with a particular focus on the possible role of social dialogue and the social partners – and more generally industrial relations – in reducing inequalities. The chapter first presents some major lessons from the national chapters and summarises their contributions to the existing research: How did national industrial relations systems address inequalities over time, and what have been their effects on various sources of inequality? This introduction also reviews some concrete outcomes of collective bargaining at national, sectoral and firm level that may have helped to reduce inequalities. It extends for this purpose the number of countries (beyond those covered by national chapters) in order to provide the most extensive overview of such outcomes. Third, this introduction complements the national stories with a comparative statistical analysis from the European Structure of Earnings Survey (SES, Eurostat) to more accurately identify specific effects of collective pay agreements on pay inequality, working time distribution and work contracts. Finally, this leads us to a number of policy considerations, which are presented briefly in the closing section and further developed in the national chapters.

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Dominique Anxo

One of the basic elements of the Swedish model is a strong contractual tradition and the crucial role played by the social partners in mechanisms for regulating labour market, working conditions and wage formation. The bipartite and contractual nature of labour market regulations coupled with the high union density and high coverage rate of collective bargaining create a favourable institutional environment for the emergence of negotiated compromises aimed at balancing flexibility and security in the labour market. Sweden constitutes, therefore, a good illustration of a flexicurity regime based on negotiated flexibility and largely explains why Sweden remains a country with decent working conditions, low income disparities and extended social justice. A compressed wage structure with relatively high wage floors have also prevented the development of low-skilled jobs in Sweden and instead have boosted policies favouring skill upgrading. In effect, large investment in research and development, a well-developed lifelong learning as well as a more balanced bargaining power between the two sides of industry have limited the tendency towards job and class polarisation in Sweden.

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David McIlroy

The core commitment of natural law theories is that the basic principles of morals and legislation are objective, accessible to reason and based on human nature. The Objective Standard against which laws are to be measured may be conventional or it may be iconoclastic. Bentham’s Utilitarianism was a natural law theory just as much as Blackstone’s was. Natural law theories can be critical theories, critiquing the injustice of rulers in the name of a higher standard of justice. When a natural law theory is conventional, it reveals that a society’s conceptions of deep justice have become so settled that they have been mistaken for true justice. Human rights theories are a modern form of natural law, asserting that there are universal standards of justice which apply across all cultures. The best explanation for the existence of universal standards of justice is a theistic one.

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Cynthia M. Ho

An ever-present question is how to properly balance patent rights with public health. However, this question is arguably becoming more difficult in an era of proliferating international agreements and norms. This chapter describes the genesis and requirements of the basic international framework for patents pursuant to the Trade Related Intellectual Property Agreement (‘TRIPS’). After introducing basic TRIPS requirements, controversies are discussed including India’s controversial law barring certain inventions from patentability, as well as compulsory license controversies, including political pressure and retaliation. In addition, newer challenges are discussed, such as TRIPS plus requirements concerning patent and regulatory laws as well as investor-state disputes under international agreements. Lastly, the chapter provides some thoughts on how to balance patent rights with public health.

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Pascal Witzig and Victoriya Salomon

Blockchain-technology promises to have far-reaching economic and social implications, which are not yet foreseeable in its extent. It threatens to disintermediate many well-established sectors of the economy, and incumbent businesses might be overtaken by ambitious newcomers. The financial services industry is particularly ‘ripe for disintermediation’ since blockchain-technology has with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies its first real-world use case. Incumbent businesses have to react if they do not wish to perish. However, technological evolution also affects the State and other governmental bodies: institutional frameworks or territorial arrangements can become obsolete or detrimental to business activity and may need to be amended. This chapter aimed to examine ongoing technology-induced reconfigurations in the financial services industry through a four lenses framework. The technology, actors and their discourses, as well as the regulatory environment and affected territories, need to be considered all at once. We have applied this framework to the case of Switzerland: a country with an influential financial services industry that has seen better days. We have found that (1) the Swiss Confederation has swiftly adapted its institutional framework to the new reality in order to foster competition and innovation; (2) there are some raucous controversies between challengers and incumbent businesses. However, a tacit compromise allows them to co-exist; (3) four ‘crypto-clusters’ are emerging. These are located in traditional banking centers (Zurich, Zug, Lake Geneva region, Chiasso) that are seeking to strengthen their international visibility and improve their competitiveness.

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Cäzilia Loibl

This chapter provides a guide for young researchers wishing to conduct research on household indebtedness. It describes approaches in social studies disciplines to measure indebtedness, as well as provides a brief discussion of the contexts in which indebtedness is currently being studied and offers directions for future research.