RENFORCE researchers conclude a comprehensive comparative report on the investigative powers of the European Anti-Fraud Service, OLAF

Under the auspices of RENFORCE, an international team of researchers has recently concluded a report on the ‘Investigatory powers and procedural safeguards: Improving OLAF’s legislative framework through a comparison with other EU law enforcement authorities.’ The project was co-funded under the Hercule III programme of the European Commission/OLAF. Headed by prof. Michiel Luchtman and prof. John Vervaele, it analyses OLAF’s legal framework for the gathering of information and evidence.

The work of the project team reveals significant deviations between the legal framework for OLAF and other EU bodies with comparable tasks (European Competition Network/ECN, the European Central Bank/ECB, and the European Securities and Markets Authority/ESMA). These differences highlight shortcomings in the OLAF legal framework, particularly when it comes to its powers of investigation, but also relating to the legal protection for the individuals concerned.

The project uses a comparative approach in which the interaction between the four authorities and their national partners in six legal orders (Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom) are analyzed. The report offers findings on each of the four EU authorities individually and in comparison, six national reports and the overall comparative analysis. The results are relevant for policymakers and legislative bodies at the EU and national level, for academics and practitioners in the area of enforcement of EU law and for training purposes.

Renforce researchers Michiel Luchtman, John Vervaele, Mira Scholten, Michele Simonato, Joske Graat and Danielle Arnold executed the project together with prof. Martin Böse and dr. Anne Schneider (both University of Bonn), prof. Peter Alldridge (Queen Mary, University of London), prof. Juliette Tricot (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, Paris), prof. Silvia Allegrezza, Prof. Katalin Ligeti and Dr. Gavin Robinson (all University of Luxembourg) and dr. Celina Nowak (Kozminski University, Warsaw).

The report is related to several other Renforce projects, including the VIDI project of prof. Michiel Luchtman and the VENI project of dr. Mira Scholten, funded by the Dutch Council of Scientific Research. A second project funded under the Hercule III programme is currently running and led by dr. Michele Simonato, prof. Michiel Luchtman and prof. John Vervaele.



Lecture by dr. Diane Fromage, on the Interparliamentary Cooperation

On 18 January 2017, Dr. Diane Fromage, Assistant Professor of EU Law in Utrecht University, gave a RENFORCE lecture on her research regarding interparliamentary cooperation and diplomacy. Dr. Kolja Raube from Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies acted as discussant.




Publication of a new journal article on transnational, science-based standards

Dr. Machiko Kanetake published a journal article on  “The dual vulnerability of transnational, science-based standards in the national legal order” on Transnational Legal Theory.

As suggested by the title, this paper highlights the scientific and political vulnerability of transnational science-based standards. This paper focuses on radiation standards formulated by the decentralized web of expert committees and inter-governmental forums. This paper exposes the domestic neglect of dual vulnerability by analyzing the Japanese stories. While this paper discusses a specific scenario, the issue of dual vulnerability would likely arise in many other science-based standards which are formulated trans-nationally and absorbed into the domestic legal order on the basis that they are scientifically authoritative with little need for political input.



Lecture by Elaine Fahey on the EU’s Global Approach to Law-Making (6 April 2017)

As part of RENFORCE External Effects project, Dr. Elaine Fahey (Reader in Law, the City Law School, City, University of London) will deliver a lecture on “A Taxonomy of the EU’s Global Approach to Law-Making”.

In this lecture, Dr. Fahey discusses articulations of the global approach of the EU to law-making. She does this by contrasting the EU acting, firstly, as a legislator and as a global legal actor and secondly, both empirically and theoretically. The lecture reflects critically upon differences between internal and external approaches to the explicit articulation of global aims in EU law.  Ostensibly, what can be termed as the ‘global’ approach of EU law-making appears highly explicit and transparent in the external context (e.g. in security (PNR, cybercrime & cybersecurity) or trade (TTIP), less so in the internal context (e.g. extra-territoriality, externalisation of the internal market). What are the reasons for this difference? Why does the external context appear so transparent and open less so the internal context? The lecture will engage in a systematic mapping of the EU’s explicitly ‘global’ approach to law-making in both internal and external EU law and policies.

Date/time: Thursday 6 April 2017, 13.00-14.30

Venue: Raadzaal, Achter Sint Pieter 200, Utrecht

The lecture is open to all; registration is not required.



Invitation for workshop ‘Conceptualizing a European Social Market Economy’

The international, interdisciplinary workshop ‘Conceptualizing a European Social Market Economy’ (Utrecht, 9 and 10 February 2017), seeks to dissect the conceptual issues raised by the debate over the relationship between free markets and social protection in the European Union. The existing conceptual frameworks are often not well suited to think about the challenges facing the EU since they tend to be rooted in domestic contexts. Therefore, the aim of the workshop is to critically assess the nature of the four concepts, which each will form a subtheme within the workshop, that are central to this debate: ‘social justice’, ‘welfare states’, ‘varieties of capitalism’ and ‘economic constitution’. The speakers of the conference are: dr. Rutger Claassen, dr. Andrea Sangiovanni, dr. Juri Viehoff, prof. dr. Janneke Plantenga, prof. dr. Catherine Barnard, prof. dr. Barbara Vis, prof. dr. Anna Gerbrandy, prof. dr. Niamh Nic Shuibhne, prof. dr. Poul Fritz Kjær, prof. dr. Mathieu Segers and prof. dr. Laurent Warlouzet.

See the following link for more information about the setup of the conference and on how to sign up: