Trading in Energy Derivatives: who’s watching?

On 20 January 2023, Liebrich Hiemstra defended her PhD dissertation which shows the financial side of the energy sector: the trade in energy derivatives and how such trading is supervised by EU and national regulatory authorities. One of the main findings is that the supervision in this sector is too opaque and that the effectiveness of the legal remedies available to market players is questionable.  

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Enforcement Challenges in Multi-Level Regulatory Systems, Revealing Weaknesses and Offering Solutions

On December 15 and 16, the University of Luxembourg commemorated the work of the Doctoral Training Unit on Enforcement in Multi-Level Regulatory Systems (DTU REMS), which culminated with a closing conference and the unveiling of their published joint work, Enforcement Challenges in Multi-Level Regulatory Systems, Revealing Weaknesses and Offering Solutions (Nomos). The conference began with a presentation of the contributing PhD graduates and their supervisors. Afterwards, Dean Katalin Ligeti, coordinator of the program, was joined by the Program Manager of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), Marie-Claude Marx, and the Vice-Rector for Research of the University of Luxembourg, Professor Jens Kreisel, to share remarks on the project.

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Differences in substantive application of Article 102 TFEU and the DMA concretized: ‘Privacy policy tying’ under Article 102 TFEU or the opt-in rule for data combination and cross use in article 5 (2) of the DMA

Disclaimer: All opinions in this blog reflect the views of the author, not of the Dutch DPA.

In our digital markets, there are more and more concerns that big tech firms use their dominant position to conduct practices that could potentially be harmful to consumers and competitors. One of these practices is to present the consumer with a take-it-or-leave-it option before he or she is allowed to use a service: if you do not consent to the fact that the firm can combine and cross-use your personal data from the service with data from other services, you will not be allowed to use the service. Where firms use their dominant position to make such practices possible and when this makes the position of these firms even stronger so the market ‘tips’, the regulator could be inclined to prohibit the practice on the basis of competition law or other forms of market regulation. In the following, I introduce this practice (I). Then, I explain that the mainstream way of approaching the aforementioned practice under Article 102 TFEU has raised critique (II). Then I show how this critique could be taken away by another way of applying Article 102 TFEU, namely under the theory of harm of ‘privacy-policy tying’(III). Next, I explain that article 5 (2) of the DMA, which directly deals with the practice at hand, shows many similarities with the criticized approach of Article 102 TFEU (IV). Finally, I argue that the application of this article does not take away the critique that has been raised, which could potentially have negative consequences (V).  

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Round-up of publications focused on Enforcement at the EU Commission this month

This month, the editors of the blog issue a ‘news type’ of blog post. We would like to bring the readers’ attention to publications related to the central theme of enforcement that the EU Commission has made in the last month.

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EU law enforcement of the right to family reunification for unaccompanied minors fleeing conflict

The recent events in Ukraine brought to light once again the difficulties faced by refugees at the beginning and during flight and resettlement. One of the main topics that are creating tension and increased solidarity is the fate and safety of the children separated from their families and parents. In this context, the first-time activation of the (TPD) for Ukrainian refugees sets an unprecedented step forward for the right of unaccompanied minors fleeing war and serious harm to family reunification. This bold political choice also draws attention to the urgent need for revision of the current legislation regulating family reunification for international refugees or beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.

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New research insights and questions for future research and practitioners on supervision and enforcement of banking, financial, digital markets and promotion of sustainability

Mira: The topic of supervision of markets and enforcement of norms and policies in the EU is an exciting, yet complex one to discuss, to design and to research (see my new chapter in Maggetti et al. 2022 aiming at capturing all relevant elements and dilemmas). The classic debates concern such pertinent issues as to which types of supervision – public and/or private, EU and/or national, compliance and/or deterrent oriented, to name but a few – should be most optimal to ensure specific policy goals and promotion of values. Next to these, new trends and challenges – globalisation and digitalisation of markets and hence enforcement, promoting sustainability and yet competitive businesses, etc.  – add to the ‘to do’ list for researchers and practitioners. Knowledge accumulation and exchange on these questions across jurisdictions, policy fields and disciplines are thus essential to advance academic and policy debates, and this blog post aims to contribute to this. It shows the pertinent research and policy questions and research conclusions of five 2022 LLM Law & Economics master graduates who have written their impressive master theses on the topics of their choice in the area of supervision of markets, enforcement and agencies under my supervision. Their results and suggestions for future research on integer (banking) supervision, sustainable, fair (digital) competition and finance are impressive and aim to promote achieving policy objectives and boost further research attention and discussion in enforcing the areas of banking, financial, digital markets and sustainability goals and beyond. 

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The EU Agency for Asylum: A New Institutional Dress for Old Enforcement Tasks?

The past years have seen a progressive expansion of the operational powers of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). As formerly discussed, EASO’s increasing involvement in the processing of asylum applications at the Greek Hotspots confirmed the need for Member States to integrate the EU support within their domestic system, while keeping the primary administrative responsibility for asylum applications. This trend toward EU direct enforcement is justified by the need to improve the implementation and overall functioning of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and has resulted in the adoption of Regulation 2021/2303 establishing the EU Agency for Asylum (EUAA). 

This short post explains how the powers of this new ‘fully-fledged’ agency may contribute to a better level of enforcement, though its normative setup does not fully reflect the practice of joint processing of asylum applications already undertaken by EASO.

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A roadmap toward protecting fundamental rights in composite banking law enforcement

The Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) is the legislative and institutional framework that grants the European Central Bank (ECB) exclusive competence to authorize and supervise banks in the eurozone. Yet, even in the context of such a high degree of Europeanization, the ECB is not completely autonomous but often relies on the powers and expertise of the national supervisors (NCAs). Various final decisions are therefore adopted on the basis of composite administrative procedures. While SSM procedures are indeed highly integrated, the protection of fundamental rights is split between the EU and the national legal orders, which may lead to gaps in complete fundamental rights protection.

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Forbearance and Enforcement at the European Commission: A Response to von der Leyen

In December 2021, we posted a now-widely-publicized working paper tackling a major puzzle: Why did infringement actions launched by the European Commission against member states (under Article 258 TFEU) plummet since 2004?  As the EU’s “Guardian of the Treaties,” the Commission is the sole EU actor capable of launching infringements against member states that fail to comply with their legal obligations – a crucial tool for the preservation of the EU legal order. Yet from 2004 to 2018 infringements opened by the Commission dropped by 67%, and infringements referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) dropped by 87%. Strikingly, this decline spun across nearly all member states and policy areas, and it occurred despite the fact the EU nearly doubled in size and was plagued by a series of crises that involved widely-publicized member state violations of EU law.

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The CJEU judgments in C-117/20 bpost and C-151/20 Nordzucker: Fundamental rights as a vehicle for hybrid enforcement mechanisms? (Cross-post from RENFORCE blog)

In its recent judgments in bpost and Nordzucker, the CJEU held – in essence – that to prevent a violation of the ne bis in idem guarantee in Article 50 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, public authorities need to cooperate and coordinate their punitive enforcement actions, also when they are active in different policy areas or in other jurisdictions. According to Michiel Luchtman, the paradoxical result seems to be that to prevent one fundamental right from being violated, it is necessary to accept (sometimes intrusive) interferences with other rights. Has the Court now entered a slippery slope, eliminating fundamental rights barriers, to promote the effective enforcement of EU law? And if so, at the expense of what?

This blog is a cross-post from RENFORCE (original blog here)

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