Emergency! But what about legal protection in the EU?

Based on an article co-authored with Argyro Karagianni & Miroslava Scholten.

The European Union (EU) has become increasingly involved with enforcing EU law directly vis-à-vis private actors. Such direct enforcement by EU authorities has a potential to address non-implementation occurring for both procedural and substantive reasons. Emerging research in the area of direct enforcement by EU authorities has mapped out the EU enforcement authorities (EEAs), EU risk regulators (ERRs), and their cooperation with national authorities from such perspectives as accountability and protection of procedural safeguards. In some cases, the EEAs and ERRs have been endowed with the so-called emergency powers. A question that (academic) research has yet to address is whether relevant and adequate safeguards are in place to ensure the rule of law and prevent the abuse of executive discretion by public authorities in such emergency situations. What is an emergency power in the EU in the first place? This blog post offers a comprehensive overview of all the existing EU entities with such powers and argues that the legal protection framework of private actors in the case of emergency must be enhanced.

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Why the implementation of European Union law is more than just a question of legal compliance

The European Union (EU) is an unprecedented instance of a regulatory state above the nation state. Its underlying idea is to provide joint solutions to shared regulatory problems. For example, the EU issues emission reduction targets for new cars in order to address the problem of man-made environmental pollution. However, and as the above picture illustrates, it is not always an easy task to ensure that the actors responsible for a given problem – for example, car producers – comply with such rules. Member states have a crucial and double role here. On the one hand, they often have to transpose rules from EU Directives into national legislation. Beyond this, however, they also have to put these rules on paper into action, and enforce them to ensure that target groups actually comply. Germany, for instance, has not rigorously enforced EU emission reduction targets vis-à-vis the Volkswagen Company. To put it bluntly, EU law can be perfectly transposed and still fail due to poor implementation performance in practice.

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Cooperation between EU and Dutch enforcement authorities: room for improvement!

Which questions remain unanswered with regard to the established mechanisms of vertical cooperation between certain EU and Dutch enforcement authorities? And which possible consequences could these unanswered questions have for the protection of those subjected to an investigation and the success of an investigation in the system of shared enforcement in the EU?

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Mind the trend! Direct enforcement of EU law and policies is moving to ‘Brussels’

A sealed sign with the EU flag does not automatically mean ‘sealed by the EU Commission’ anymore. The number of EU entities acquiring direct enforcement powers has grown from one to eight recently. The first post of this blog puts on the map and raises awareness of an ongoing development in the EU law and governance – proliferation of EU enforcement authorities (EEAs) – which so far has been unnoticed. The aim is to launch a discussion of the aims, means and challenges of this development to understand and contribute to shaping of effective and secure law enforcement in the EU.

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