Jean Monnet Network on enforcement of EU law (EULEN)

Michiel Luchtman & Miroslava Scholten

With this blog post, the editors of the blog would like to announce the creation of the Jean Monnet Network on EU law Enforcement (EULEN). We would like to sketch briefly the relevance of this topic, thematic scope, structure and plans for activities of the network.

Enforcement of EU law: latest trends and implications

The enforcement of EU law and policies – whether they deal with securing our societies against transnational crime, the stability and competitiveness of our markets or migration and border management – have increasingly become a shared concern and responsibility for the EU and its Member States. Three developments mark the growing influence of the EU on law enforcement, i.e. on the monitoring of compliance of substantive norms of EU law, the investigation of alleged breaches of law and sanctioning for non-compliance (Scholten and Luchtman 2017, Scholten 2017):

1. the increasing emphasis of the EU legislator on enforcement convergence and on how nation states organize their systems of public and/or private enforcement (indirect or decentralized enforcement);

2. the proliferation of new models of transnational enforcement cooperation, i.e. the shift from traditional international cooperation towards new, transnational forms of cooperation under a framework of common goals, rules and institutions (e.g. the European Arrest Warrant, joint investigation teams, operational enforcement networks);

3. the proliferation of EU authorities with direct enforcement powers vis-à-vis private actors, including the sanctioning of infringements of EU law by these actors (direct or centralized enforcement).

These three developments bring along a delicate interplay between the many different actors involved and confront the EU and its Member States with the challenges to:

– align models for effective law enforcement, predominantly still based on the model of the nation-state, with rule of law standards in the shared legal order of the EU, 

– obtain a fair balance between the need to integrate the enforcement of EU policies in national systems, customs and practices and the need to accommodate a level playing field at the transnational and supranational levels, and 

– address the challenges for law enforcement in the digital era.

EULEN’s thematic scope and structure

EULEN is an initiative of 9 Universities from 8 European countries. This network’s thematic focus is twofold. On the one hand, its activities will focus on a number of selected policy areas where the mentioned trends and implications have had a role to play:

  • The University of Warsaw, Poland (dr. M. Bernatt and dr. L. Zoboli), and Bocconi University, Milan, Italy (prof. dr. F. Ghezzi and dr. M. Maggiolino) will coordinate the topic of the enforcement in the area of EU competition law;
  • King’s College London, the United Kingdom (prof. dr. A. Turk and dr. O. Stefan) will coordinate the topic of enforcement of EU banking and financial services law;
  • The University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg (prof. dr. K. Ligeti and Mr. F. Giuffrida) will coordinate the topic of protection of the EU’s financial interest;
  • The University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain (prof. J. Abrisqueta Uriarte, dr. D. Fernández Rojo and dr. J. López Rodríguez) will coordinate the topic of migration, border management and asylum).

At the same time, three ‘horizontal themes’ will be addressed across these and other policy areas. These topics will be coordinated by Utrecht University, the Netherlands (prof. dr. M. Luchtman and dr. M. Scholten, also the main and contact coordinators of the network), in cooperation with the University of Bonn, Germany (prof. dr. M. Böse), and the University of Zurich, Switzerland (prof. dr. F. Meyer) (Ensuring effectiveness and the rule of law in a shared legal order) and the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain (prof. dr. L. Arroyo Jiménez), (Technological innovations and EU law enforcement). The topic of finding balance between differentiated enforcement and a European level playing field will be coordinated by dr. S. Princen of Utrecht University.

The network also has an advisory board with internationally recognized experts in the field of enforcement – dr. F. Blanc (World Bank), prof. P. Craig (University of Oxford), prof. W. Kovacic (George Washington University, former US Federal Trade Commission), prof. A. Ottow (Utrecht University, University Board), prof. J. Vervaele (Utrecht University; President of the Association International de Droit Pénal). EULEN will also set up a platform of Young Researchers to promote their research projects and dissemination of findings via blog posts and EULEN’s online collections of papers and other publications.

EULEN’s plans of activities

EULEN comes at a timely moment. It bridges the existing fragmentations along the lines of national jurisdictions, policy areas and scientific disciplines. In order to address the challenges for law enforcement in a world without territorial borders, EULEN will offer an academic network, connecting academic research and teaching to clear societal needs, objectives and stakeholders, open to join for the interested persons all around the globe (please contact the main coordinators about possibilities and benefits of joining as a member).

EULEN aims to:

  • promote academic cooperation and identify the common trends and best practices, as well as develop new insights and models to meet the identified challenges, 
  • commit today’s practitioners to the network’s approach and goals, as well as develop trainings to help them to adjust to the quickly changing enforcement landscape, 
  • educate tomorrow’s practitioners and academics to take up leading roles in EU law enforcement structures, and to
  • inform societies on the tremendous importance of law enforcement in an increasingly borderless world.

Through its large variety of activities – including round tables, conferences, online lectures and papers, a staff mobility program, a summer school and other – EULEN targets students, academics, officials from national and EU institutions, organisations and agencies, practitioners and societies at large. It will offer an annual master thesis award for the best master thesis written on the topic of enforcement of EU law!

The opening of the network will take place on 16 and 17 January 2020 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

The Erasmus+ Project Card can be found here.

Michiel Luchtman & Miroslava Scholten
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Author: Michiel Luchtman & Miroslava Scholten

Michiel Luchtman is Professor of Transnational law enforcement and fundamental rights at the Willem Pompe Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology and Miroslava Scholten is an Associate Professor of EU law, Utrecht University. Both authors are members of the Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe (RENFORCE).

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