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End-of-Year Curiosities The UK and Europe at couples counseling. Will the Brexit be an ugly divorce or a friendly separation? TTIP: Another bump in the road for Europe?

Are fundamental rights changing? A recent decision of the ECJ


CONTENTS .................................................. Preface


Brexit 6 TTIP 8 Fundamental rights 10 Strange laws 12 Editor’s picks 14 The board 2015-2016


Featured in Curious


Illustration by Nate Kitch, source:






ROOS BOS Editor-in-Chief

You get up at 7 in the morning, if you are lucky you make yourself a fresh cup of coffee, then off you go on your bike to the Drift, after standing in line for 10 minutes the doors open and you speed walk to your “favourite� spot in the library. Luckily those times are over and it is time to sleep in, finish the last few episodes of the new season of orange is the new black and hopefully spend some time on the beach this rainy summer, because our well deserved holiday has begun! The Curious editors are getting ready to pack their bags and jump on a train straight to Schiphol, but not before we look back on the completely renewed Magazine! We began 2016 with an entirely new magazine Committee. Like most of our readers we made a few New Year resolutions and I dare to say that unlike most of the far-fetched resolutions made by many of us, our determination to revive the magazine has been fruitful! We enjoyed talking with Urios members to celebrate their commitment to the association; we greatly appreciate everyone who wrote an article for the magazine and of course we want to thank everyone who has taken the time to sit down and read Curious magazine. I suggest you download this issue of Curious and when you finally sit down in your airplane seat, buckle up and turn your phone on airplane mode, scroll through the magazine since you will be unable to text your friends or feed your social media addiction. Hopefully we succeeded to provide you with some reading material to resist the boredom high in the sky. If you booked a ticket to the States or you are about to fill up gas to drive to Germany, you might want to read our article about strange laws in foreign parts of the world before you end up in jail for having a sleeping donkey in your bathtub. If you booked a hostel in the deserted mountain tops of Nepal you might find it interesting to check on the latest current affairs before your Wi-Fi disconnects. And when you decided to spend your holiday on an idyllic Fiji island, I suggest you find out what our editors are reading this summer! In September we hope to be well rested, tanned and full of new inspiration to start the new academic year with more Curious issues!





Will the Brexit be an ugly divorce or a friendly separation?

The UK and Europe never had an intense love affair, but now it is finally official; they are about to break up. A divorce is, in any respect, always painful. How do you unbundle a marriage of 43 years in which the amount of family members grew exponentially? Property has to be divided, new financial budgets have to drafted and debts have to be paid off. In many separation cases both parties agree on the fact that a speedy divorce is preferable. In the Brexit such a consensus is not reached at all. Past week some harsh language sounded from Europe towards the Brits. “If

they want to leave, they better do it quick” was the statement of the French minister of foreign affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault and his German college Frank-Walter Steinmeier after their meeting in Berlin about UK’s separation from the EU. The French minister reasoned that a long period of uncertainty would feed into populism. Merkel took the sting out the debate when she proclaimed a day later that she wanted to go down a more reconciling path. England is still an important economic partner so we shouldn’t start the negotiations in a fighting mode, but neither should the separation take ages, was her opinion.



It might be advisable to hire a lawyer in a divorce, as you never know what tricks the other party has on its sleeve, because ultimately you want what is best for you. In Europe that is no different, member states have their own interests in mind, but you can feel the fear of a repeat of 2005’s debacle. After intense negotiations, the member states agreed on a European constitution, but the French and Dutch population shot down those progressive plans. After this major setback for Europe, member states were only concerned with saving their own proverbial asses. This time Europe wants to do it differently, solving concrete problems is the new approach. Disappointment reigns throughout, but when the emotions that lay on the surface are processed; it is very likely that the EU will come to a tight economic relationship with the UK. If European politicians are willing to close the deal on free trade agreements with the Ukraine and Canada, why wouldn’t they want to sustain a healthy relationship with the Brits who are only the English Canal away. That the Brexit is going to be a tough challenge is clear. Unwinding the economic relationships are complex and depth Stephen Weatherill, professor of law at Oxford University argues. He even claims that it would be more legally complicated than decolonisation or the break-up of sovereign countries in the past. And is if it is not complicated enough the divorce negotiations can be interrupted by British prime ministry elections and maybe even a second referendum about Scottish independence.


The exit is going to be one of the biggest upheavals for the European Union thus far. If the UK is really about to face a hostile Europe is not clear yet, but the former Hungarian prime minister wants to punish Britain so other states do not dare to follow UK’s exit path. After pointing out the pain points, it is useful to look at the future, which options does the United Kingdom have after its exit? After a divorce many women want to change their look and therefore run to the closest hairdresser while stopping on the way for a new dress and some heels. The United Kingdom has to go look for a new design too. The Brits could choose a Norwegian, Swiss, Turkish or Canadian model or come up with something completely new. The next two years European and English politicians are going to have to make substantial over hours if they want a clean break within that two-year time span. What the intensity of the aftershocks in Europe will be after separation is yet to be measured, but it is clear that a wave of Euroscepticism has swept across the EU after the Brexit victory.



Another bump in the road for Europe? By Sofia van Dijk

Over the last few years Europe has experienced many crises, which have been questioning and defying the existence of the European Union itself. The economic crisis, followed by crashing economies in Europe, the refugee-flow, with which Europe is still having a hard time coping, and the latest could be said to be the Brexit; UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. In the mean time, the EU has been conducting several negotiations with the USA, all subject to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Despite all opportunities this agreement says it will create, the TTIP has run into an opposition wall, as majorities in several European countries are opposed to this deal. Is this the next crisis Europe is about to face?




The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a series of on-going negotiations between the EU and the US, aimed at creating the world’s biggest free trade zone spanning the North Atlantic. It aims to reduce regulatory barriers, like food safety law, environmental legislation, and banking regulations, which, as the European Commission says, should boost the size of the European economy by €120bn and the US economy by €95bn. This agreement should result in an increase by several million of the number of jobs dependent on export, consumers would enjoy cheaper products, and the disposable incomes of European households of four would increase with €500 euros a year as a result of wage increases and price reductions. Opponents, however, under which many European politicians, have expressed their concerns with this trade agreement. Fierce protests have occurred throughout Europe and especially in Germany for a while now. The opposition argues that the aim is to strip away obstacles to large corporations making profits – “such as regulations that protect our privacy, the environment, food safety and the economy from a rapacious financial sector” and that it opens further up public services to private companies motivated by profit rather than people’s needs. They warn that that way the agreement undermines our

democracy and sovereignty. The main attack on democracy is the element of the treaty called the investorstate dispute settlement (ISDS). This is a clause that enables multinationals to sue governments in arbitration tribunals when their profits are threatened by government policies. The fourteenth round of negotiations will soon be taking place in Brussels and time is running out, as the US presidential election will soon take place and both candidates Trump and Clinton have expressed concerns and criticism about the deal. Furthermore, as said before many state majorities in Europe have been opposing the deal, Europe still needs to deal with other on-going crises, and these time-consuming negotiations are costing a lot of money. The question I ask is if this deal will ever gain political support, and is free market expansion really a primary concern for the EU at the moment? In my humble opinion, I hope the EU can look further than its ambition of market expansion, and that that way, it will protect its member states from the takeover by titan corporations.






On the last day of May, the European Court of Justice has made a remarkable decision: in their opinion, it is not discriminating to forbid women to wear a hidjab on the work floor. Samira Achbita from Belgium sued a Belgian security company for firing her because of expressing her religion through wearing a hidjab. She got fired when she decided to wear the hidjab. She pursued further actions when the Belgian court dismissed her case and stepped up to the ECJ. The company stated that it is against the company’s rules and beliefs of transparency: wearing a hidjab, or expressing religion through in any other way, is against their statutes.



According to the opinion, an employee must be expected to moderate the exercise of his religion in the workplace. Is it legitimate to ask this from people? We have a fundamental right, or a principle belief, to have freedom of religion. The freedom of religion also means that you have freedom to express your religion. We can find this for example in article 9 and 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights. apparently, this fundamental right comes with constraints. The advocate-general at the ECJ stated in the opinion that it is legitimate to forbid hidjab’s if an employee has reasonable thoughts on banning. Advocating transparency is legitimate enough to ban the hidjab’s, but there may not be any involvement of judging people by stereotyping them. Samira felt discriminated. She felt attacked by the rules, since she stated that they would turn out to be indirectly discriminating towards Muslim women, since a lot of Muslim women wear a hidjab and other religions don’t often exercise their faith through physical manners. The company argued this and stated that they would also forbid any symbols of religion like a cross or any other physical expression of religion. Remarkably, the Institute for Human Rights in our country thinks differently. A week before the ECJ announced their opinion, the Institute decided that the court of Rotterdam was discriminating when a Muslim woman was rejected for a job in 2011, because


she did not want to take off her hidjab during work hours. So what is the difference between both cases? According to Dutch lawyers and professors, the difference lies in the treatment of equality. In the Dutch case, it was not justifiable to not hire a woman just because of her beliefs and religion. In the Belgian case, it has been found to be justifiable to fire an employee, if the employee is not respecting the company’s rules. So what is the worth of a fundamental right if they come with constraints? Can we really ask people to not express their religion? Are we indirectly discriminating people when we allow these constraints? Whether people agree with the opinion of the ECJ or not, it provides food for thought. We should reconsider the worth of our fundamental values and question if fundamental rights are evolving.




S T R A N G E L AW S TRUTH OR MYTHS? In Oklahoma, it is illegal have a sleeping donkey in your bathtub after 7pm

This one is interesting, especially since it’s legal when the donkey is awake and also if it is before 7pm. No trustworthy source could be found on this one, but it has been said that the law was made in 1924, because a merchant’s donkey was sleeping in a bathtub and got flushed away with the bathtub when the a local dam broke. Apparently the townspeople then signed a petition against such a law, since it was not easy to save the donkey and get the merchant home again. So that’s how the law got passed… Crazy story, right?

In Switserland, it is illegal to flush the toilet after 10pm

Apparently this one is an ‘urban myth’. It partly is a myth, but some parts of it are true. It’s actually the case that police regulations in many areas in Switserland ask for minimum noise between 10pm and 7am. This includes loud music and loud conversations and laughter. Yet, lawyers say that a clause that states that you cannot flush the toilet or have a bath after 10pm are not enforcable, as long as they don’t last longer than 20 minutes. Luckily, the toilet doesn’t flush that long and most people don’t shower that long...

In Victoria, Australia, it is illegal to change a light bulb if you’re not a licensed electrician

On many websites the information is given that in Victoria, Australia, it is illegal to change a lightbulb if you’re not a licensed electrician. You could get a $10 fine for unlawfully doing this. However, this one isn’t true, according to a spokeswoman from Energy Safe Victoria. I guess we’ll never know where the myth comes from. However, this

doesn’t mean that strange laws don’t exist in Australia: it is actually illegal to be in possession of more than 50kg of potatoes. Western’ Australia’s Potato Marketing Corporation even has the power to stop and search any vehicle that they susupect of carrying more than the legal amount. Yet, this law might not last all that long anymore; premier Colin Barnett says he’ll abolish the law if he makes it through the next elections.

In Russia, it is illegal to tell kids that gay people exist

As horrible as it sounds, sadly it is true. The Russian president Putin initiated the bill, which was passed in Russia on 12th June 2013. This bill, which bans all ‘propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations’ even includes telling kids about the existence of gay people as an offence. Could it get more ridiculous? When hearing things like this, we should feel lucky to live in a country where the law doesn’t discriminate in such a way.

In France, it is illegal to name your pig Napoleon

Another law which has no background information, and no eligible source could be found. We suppose that this one refers to the law that states that it’s illegal in France to insult the head of state. Whilst Napoleon Bonaparte was an emperor in the past, he is not anymore, so it should be okay to call your pig anything you want. There are, however, more theories on this matter; the pig in ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell is called Napoleon and represents Stalin, therefore some people think that that is the reason one should better not name their pig Napoleon. But what does that even have to do with France? This ‘law’ seems to remain a grey area.





Sadly, no verificatication could be found for this one, but it would have been quite something if it were true. However, it might be better if this is not true, right? Because that means that there are no limitations at all when it comes to crossdressing for men (and women). It is however logical that some men would have more difficulties wearing strapless dresses than women do in general, so maybe this law was invented to prevent accidents from happening. We don’t want any men to fall over their gowns, do we?

say anything about women with mustaches and men kissing men… And let’s be real, if it were true, it was probably not ever enforced.

In Germany, it’s illegal to run out of fuel on the Autobahn.

This one is very true. It is illegal to run out of gas, because cars that need to stop on the side of the Autobahn can be dangerous, since in many parts in Germany people are allowed to drive as fast as they like. This also explains why it’s illegal to walk along the Autobahn, it is simply too dangerous. So, if you are running low on gas you better find a gas station fast, otherwise you risk a fine and cannot legally walk anywhere to get new gas…

In Thailand, it is illegal to step on money

Very important in Thailand: do not defile the Thai king. This even applies to money: stepping on a Baht with the King’s face on it may get you arrested. This is however not the only strange Thai law that’s deserves some attention. They say it is illegal to leave the house without underwear on. They are probably not going to check for it and send you back home to put some on, but you never know… However, no such law can be found in the penal law, only a law that says it is not allowed to be in public wearing only underwear. Maybe it’s a myth after all.

In Eureka, Nevada, men with mustaches cannot kiss women in public

Apparently this one is true and has been around since the 19th century. I do, however, have some doubts about this one. There are no explanations about this law to be found anywhere. There should be an interesting story for a law to exist that only prohibits men with mustaches to kiss women in public. At least it does not

Canada’s radio stations must broadcast 35% Canadian content

The Canadian radio is subject to some patriotic legal regulations. The regulations state that ‘English-language and French-language stations must ensure that at least 35% of the Popular Music they broadcast each week is Canadian content. Commercial radio stations also have to ensure that at least 35% of the Popular Music broadcast between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday is Canadian content.’ Quite interesting, we never thought they were that patriotic in Canada, especially when it comes to music. I guess that’s good news for Justin Bieber and Bryan Adams, yet not so much for the rest of the world.

By Judith Bel




A Word From the Board Dear readers, As the academic year is coming to an end, so is our time as board members of Urios 35th board. Before everyone ventures off to exotic destinations, summer jobs and exciting internships, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect once more on the great time we had over the past months. From the impressive institutions in Strasbourg to the colorful streets of Tel Aviv - from lustrum activities to heated discussions at various symposia; it was quite the year. I will look back with fond memories, and cannot deny that I will miss being intensively involved at the association. However, the year is almost over, meaning it is time for me to hand down my duties to my successor. I would like to thank all involved Urios members (and non-members!) for their interest and enthusiasm in our activities. On behalf of the 35th board, I hope you enjoyed everything we organized during the year and would like to welcoame you to join the activities organized by the next board.

In particular, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of our various committees, who have done a great job at making Urios happen. I hope every single one of you have enjoyed their time as an active member, and can look back at a successful year. Finally, a special shout-out to my board members: thank you for the exciting and eventful time – it has been a pleasure to work with all of you. For the next board: I hope you will have as great of a time as I had and I am confident you will do an amazing job. Thank you for everything, and hopefully see you next year! Ingeborg Leijtens President 2015-2016



The 35th Urios Board Ingeborg Leijtens, Sofia van Dijk, Janneke Feenstra, Noah Chenevert, Wouter Stroeve, Maxime Voorbraak, Nikki Eshuis





Our top picks for books to read during the summer Check out what the Magazine Committee is reading this summer!

Roos will be reading... Are you planning to sit on the beach for most of the day this summer and you aren’t that much of a swimmer? I have the perfect book for you. I am Pilgrim written by Terry Hayes is a thick book but an easy read. A thriller that focuses on the age-old question: Can you commit the perfect crime? The book will take you all over the world, but not for holiday purposes. A man beheaded in Saudi Arabia, a man found eyeless in Damascus, a burned up body in Afghanistan and a woman in a bath of acid in New York City. What starts as an unusual investigation soon becomes a fight against terrorism. If you like a well worked out plot in a bulky thriller I am pilgrim is a perfect read.

Judith will be reading... What I’ll be reading this summer doesn’t seem like an easy read, yet I’ve heard so much about it that I cannot resist. Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts is a book about an Australian prisoner and fugitive who begins a new life in Bombay, India and explores many different sides of the city and India in general, and it’s not just the pretty sides. I am sure this book will take me back to my own time in India and give me some insights on matters I didn’t know about. Another interesting thing is that the book is supposed to be more than just fiction; many events are taken from the author’s experience. Seems like I’m about to read some insights of a real insider.

Alina will be reading... If you’re into detectives and thrillers, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker is one you can not miss to read this summer. It’s springtime in New York, 2008 and a young writer, Marcus Goldman, needs inspiration for his new book. He heads down to New Hampshire to see his professor from college, Harry Quebert, when the body of fifteen years old Nola Kellergan is found after 33 years of missing. Harry becomes the main suspect in this case. Marcus wants to unravel the truth and decides to dedicate his next book to this case. We don’t want to give away too much, but this book has been awarded many times for its plot and clever writings. Make sure to get a copy of this book and find out what happened to Nola!

Sofia will be reading... Just like his first novel “The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared”, Jonas Jonasson will make you laugh plenty to overcome the boring rainy (Dutch) summer days with this book. The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden is not only very well written, but also imaginative, containing bizarre improbabilities. The cartoonish characters, such as the brainy (but illiterate) Nombeko and Holger with his non-existing twin brother Holger, take you from South-Africa during apartheid to 21st century Sweden. This absurd, heart-warming, and hilarious story will be an excellent company throughout your entire summer.




NEW BEGINNINGS THE SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS The legal positions of American Governers who refuse to accept Syrian refugees

CLIMATE CHANGE SYMPOSIUM A report on the recent Climate Change symposium

THE ICTR Remembering the founding of the tribunal and its milestones throughout history.








Urios presents to you: Meike de Vree. This fellow Urios member has been of great importance to the MUN committee. At the beginning of her second year she wanted to become a member of a study association, and since she was interested in international law, the obvious choice was Urios. She stumbled upon the MUN-committee and even though she didn’t have any MUN experience, she took the shot and got in. She now says it’s ‘one of the best rash decisions she has made’. And we think so too, obviously! She says that the best experience she’s had with the committee has to be the conference in Paris. It was an amazing time not only because of the beauty of Paris, but also because of the interesting debate in her committee and the greatness of the Urios delegation for that matter! In the future she would love to see Urios grow an own MUN society with people who’d love to work on their MUN skill all year round, not only for a few weeks leading up to a conference. Apart from being active with Urios, Meike loves reading, Netflix, movies and going out for drinks with friends. Meike’s weird habit is that her notes always have to be very neat. It has even gotten to an extent that she brings a ruler with her everywhere! She is from Breda, so naturally her favourite costume party is carnaval, which is a 6 day party with lots of beer that takes places everywhere in the south of the Netherlands. She says her favoutite animal is a koala, because they’re cute and lazy and she likes the pun that koalas have all the koalafications.We totally agree with that, who can’t resist a cute koala. (And a fun fact: did you know that koala’s are not bears but marsupials?) Yet, this summer Meike isn’t visiting koalas in Australia. She doesn’t have plans yet, so maybe she’ll book a last-minute vacation. Iceland is on top of her travel wish list; although it is not a very summery place it should be very beautiful. We truly hope she’ll have a great time this vacation and that she’ll stay active with Urios for the upcoming years!


Curious - Urios Magazine Vol. 1 Issue 6 July 2016 Editors Roos Bos, Judith Bel, Alina Chakh, Sofia van Dijk Address Janskerkhof 3 3512BK Utrecht The Netherlands Copyright The copyrights of the articles, photographs and pictures are reserved to the authors and artists. Nothing in this issue may in any way be duplicated or made public without permission from the authors. Membership Would you like to be member of Urios? Register now at

Curious #6  

Urios Magazine Volume 1 Issue 6 July 2016

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