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.
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?
Air travel is considered to be the safest mode of transportation. Within the EU, there is an extensive aviation safety system at work to keep things that way. It consists of the national aviation authorities (NAAs) of the Member States, the Commission and an EU agency: the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). As is the case with EU rules on medicines, European aviation safety rules are largely regulated at the EU level while in most cases national authorities are in charge of enforcing them.
The proposal of the European Commission of 22 March 2017 for an European Directive to achieve more convergence in investigative and sanctioning powers of the Member States forms a great opportunity to address the shared enforcement of antitrust cases and the effectiveness thereof in the post of this month.
On 6 October 2016 the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) was officially launched at the border point of Kapitan Andreevo between Bulgaria and Turkey. As a result of the migratory crisis, the transformation of Frontex into a EBCG became a political priority for both the EU and the Member States. Frontex was established in 2004 to assist the countries of Europe to better cooperate in controlling their external borders. The new Regulation 2016/1624 is the third legislative revision of the mandate and competences of Frontex. This Regulation aims to both strengthen the position of the EBCG from the Member States, which have not always fully cooperated with Frontex, and also effectively and uniformly implement the EU rules and policies on border management.
More than two millennia ago the Roman poet Juvenal posed the question: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards themselves? Today, we pose this question, be it in a complete different context: ‘who will be the guard of the European Enforcement Authorities (EEAs) for the exercise of their enforcement powers in the new setting of shared enforcement’? This contribution focuses on the role of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) in this respect, as this is the Union Institution established as the guardian of EU Finances (art. 285 TFEU).
Ho Ho Ho! Christmas is over, Rudolf and the other reindeers are in the stable; it is time to rest a little bit with a glass of brandy and read the overdue correspondence I got over that busy period.
I always get a lot of letters asking me how it is possible to deliver all the presents in such a short time. Well, the different time-zones help a lot, as I do not need to be everywhere at the same time. And the flying equipment must be maintained up to the highest standards of course – you really do not want to have an in-flight emergency with all that important cargo in the boot of the sleigh and a very tight flight schedule.
In 2015, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) celebrated its 20th anniversary, coinciding with the 50 years of pharmaceutical regulation in the European Union (EU). In the EU, pharmaceuticals are legislated at the EU level, but the enforcement of this legislation is typically left to the Member States. Yet also in this area we can see a trend of verticalization. This development has resulted in too complex procedures, with potential negative effects on accountability.
Imagine that a person records a telephone conversation without the knowledge and consent of her interlocutor, nor any legitimate authorisation. What if those records are found by a public authority conducting an administrative investigation? Can this authority use the content of those conversation to prove its case? If the authority is a EU enforcement authority, these questions are far from being self-evident, given the lack of clear exclusionary rules.
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.