Verticalization of Enforcement

Thematic Scope

Being one of the key projects of RENFORCE, we are the central point of information, research and discussion of the issues concerning enforcement of EU laws and policies. We focus especially on the recent developments in this field. Law enforcement has long been regarded an exclusive competence of the EU Member States. Since recently, new models of enforcement in the EU have been emerging. In addition, new enforcement agencies, networks and other forms of transnational cooperation have been established. This process of centralization resulted, among other things, in EU authorities having direct enforcement tasks. These direct enforcement tasks include monitoring markets and economic actors, investigating alleged infringements of EU law and even punishing those infringements in many policy areas: from aviation and food safety to financial markets. The rise of EU law enforcement authorities and the transfer of tasks and powers to the EU level raises important scientific and societal questions. These questions include those on the division of powers between both the EU and the national level, and about political and judicial accountability. We aim to contribute to investigating these issues and addressing societal challenges that they bring about.

You are welcome to contact the coordinators of this project, Michiel Luchtman and Mira Scholten, with your (research) inquiries!

Our Research Projects

In addition to individual publications of our researchers, at this moment, we execute two research projects funded by the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO):

  • ‘Shared enforcement but separated controls in the EU – how to make
    it work for democracy and the rule of law?’, the veni project of  Miroslava (Mira) Scholten, and
  • ‘The rise of EU law enforcement authorities – Protecting fundamental rights and liberties in a transnational law enforcement area’, the vidi project of  Michiel Luchtman.

In December 2017, we successfully concluded a project which is the first to put the proliferation of EU enforcement authorities on the map. It resulted in an edited volume ‘Law Enforcement by EU Authorities’ (EE) written by 30 international scholars.

In 2016-2018, we conducted two projects for the Anti-Fraud Office of the European Union (OLAF), ‘hercule funding scheme’ of the European Commission:

The discussion platform underpinning these projects can be found here. This is the central point for information about enforcement of EU Law and building knowledge via monthly blogposts written by (academic) experts in the field of enforcement. The aim of this platform is to gather and build up knowledge, and trace and critically discuss recent developments in the field.

Our Network

Our network includes more than 50 experts coming from different academic backgrounds – 18 universities, and both EU and national agencies and public institutions, such as the World Bank, the EU Commission, the EU Parliament, the EU Banking Authority and the EU Central Bank.


28-29 March 2019 – Within the framework of the University of Turin’s research project on rehabilitation of ‘offenders’ in the European Union, P.I. Stefano Montaldoon organized a conference entitled ‘European Union Law Enforcement: The Evolution of Sanctioning Powers.’ At the conference, Mira Scholten gave a talk on the topic of ‘Models of EU law enforcement: What role for EU sanctioning powers?’.

21 March 2019 –  Prof. Peter Lindseth, from the University of Connecticut, School of Law, gave a presentation entitled ‘In the Shadow of Threatened Enforcement: Compliance and the Public-Private Divide in the U.S.’.

18 February 2019 – Luis Everdy Mejía, PhD Candidate at Doctoral Programme in Governance, Hertie School of Governance, presented his paper on ‘The regulatory state under challenge: an empirical analysis of judicial appeals against competition and telecomm regulators from Spain and the United Kingdom’.

29 – 30 November 2018: John Vervaele and Michiel Luchtman presented at the conference “Toward and Integrated Enforcement of Banking Regulation: The Case of the Single Supervisory Mechanism” in Luxemburg. Vervaele discussed the issue of Choosing between Criminal and Administrative Enforcement of banking regulations. Luchtman discussed the issue of Information and Evidence Sharing between Administrative and Criminal Authorities.


11 October 2018 – Mira Scholten and Rob Widdershoven were invited as speakers to the international conference ‘Judicial Deference in Competition Law’, at the Center for Antitrust and Regulatory Studies (CARS), University of Warsaw. In the picture below they are with Dr. Maciej Bernatt, the main organizer of the conference.

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22 September 2018 – The Verticalization of Enforcement blog, with its 26 blog posts, celebrates its second birthday this month! We invite all those interested in writing on this topic to contribute, helping it grow in it’s third year. You are welcome to contact the coordinators of this project, Mira Scholten and Michiel Luchtman, if you have a related publication or opinion.

13-14 September 2018 – The Universities of Utrecht, Leiden and Maastricht organized a joint conference on ‘Procedural rights in criminal proceedings in the European Union’. The conference was organized by Michiel Luchtman, Andras Csuri, Jannemieke Ouwerkerk and Andre Klip, and was held at Utrecht University.

5 – 6 July 2018 – Renforce and EUROPAL centers have organized three panels at the ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance Biennial Conference, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. The overaching theme was “New Challenges of Regulation and Enforcement in the EU”. Ten papers written by researchers from different universities were discussed. The contributors included Koen Bovend’Eerdt (Utrecht University), Federica Cacciatore (University of Florence), András Csúri (Utrecht University), Mariolina Eliantonio (Maastricht University), Christoph Klika (University of Duisburg-Essen), Ellen Mastenbroek (Radboud University), Miroslava Scholten (Utrecht University), Ton van den Brink (Utrecht University), Esther van Schagen (Wageningen University and Research), Esther van Zimmeren (University of Antwerp).

Mira Scholten also participated in the roundtable ‘Towards strengthening the impact of European research on enforcement’, organized by Judith van Erp and Colin Scott, presented and discussed ‘Law Enforcement by EU Authorities’, a recently published edited volume by her and Michiel Luchtman, at a special book presentation panel on three books. Dr. Sara Drake (Cardiff School of Law and Politics) gave a very positive review of the book.








15 June 2018 – Utrecht University, under the auspices of RENFORCE and in the framework of the HERCULE III Programme, organized the conference “OLAF and the EPPO in the new institutional setting for the protection of the financial interests of the EU”.

The conference aimed to provide the audience with a better understanding of the administrative and criminal responses to EU fraud both at present and in the near future. It brought together academics, practitioners and policy makers to discuss several aspects of the protection of the EU budget in light of the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

1 June 2018 – Argyro Karagianni, Laurens van Kreij and Mira Scholten organized an expert seminar on the topic of supervision of the EU financial markets. Michalis Sotiropoulos, the Executive Director of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) clearing house, gave a key-note presentation and Dr. Aneta Spendzharova (Maastricht University) commented on the presentation.

18 May 2018 – Mira Scholten gave a presentation on the recent developments in the field of supervision of financial markets at the headquarters of the bank Santander, in Madrid, Spain.

18 May 2018 – Mira Scholten gave a breakfast lecture on the topic of ‘Supervision of financial markets in the EU: (new) trends and challenges’ at the Fundación para la Investigación sobre el Derecho y la Empresa (FIDE), in Madrid, Spain.


30 April 2017 – Renforce researchers conclude a comprehensive comparative report on the exchange of information with EU and international enforcement authorities.

Under the auspices of RENFORCE, an international team of researchers has recently concluded a report on the “Exchange of information with EU and national enforcement authorities: Improving OLAF legislative framework through acomparison with other EU authorities (ECN/ESMA/ECB)”. The project was co-funded under the Hercule III programme of the European Commission/OLAF. It is also related to the project ‘The rise of EU law enforcement authorities – Protecting fundamental rights and liberties in a transnational law enforcement area’, funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research under the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme (VIDI scheme 2015).

Renforce researchers Michiel Luchtman, John Vervaele, Mira Scholten, Michele Simonato, Argyro Karagianni and Koen Bovend’Eerdt executed the project together with Dr. Aandras Csúri (Utrecht University), prof. Martin Böse and dr. Anne Schneider (both University of Bonn), prof. Peter Alldridge (Queen Mary, University of London), prof. Silvia Allegrezza and Prof. Katalin Ligeti, Dr. Angelo Marletta and Dr. Valentina Covolo (all University of Luxembourg).

20 April 2018 – Together with Dr. Salvo Nicolosi the VET project organized an Expert Talk on “The Implementation of the European Agenda for Migration” with Ms. Esther Pozo-Vera, Deputy-Head of Unit, DG HOME- C4 Migration Management Support at the European Commission.

In order to curb the migratory pressure in the Mediterranean in May 2015, the European Commission adopted the European Agenda on Migration. Almost three years after the adoption of the Agenda, the talk pointed to the partial balance in the light of the reforms carried out as well as of those that are still under discussion within the EU institutions.

13 April 2018 – Dr. Miroslava Sc holten and Prof. Michiel Luchtman co-chaired the annual workshop of Osservatorio AIR at LUMSA University, Rome (together with Dr. Federica Cacciatore (AIR)). The focus of the one-day workshop was on the effective enforcement of EU law and policies. It invited academics and practitioners to discuss the issues at the hand of a number of papers presented by the experts in respective fields, including RENFORCE’s own Prof. John Vervaele.

Further details about the workshop can be found on the website of Osservatorio AIR.

03 April 2018 – The EU law master students of the capita selecta course “Enforcing EU Law by EU Agencies” celebrated the launching of one central blog page for the course. The central blog page shares the preliminary findings of the students’ papers on specific topics related to EU agencies with enforcement powers. The celebration served, moreover, as a nice opportunity for fruitful discussions and an exchange of ideas about the blog posts between the EU law master students of the past three years.

26 March 2018 – EU Law master students of the course ‘Capita Selecta: Enforcement by EU agencies’ have published three blogs in which they discuss accountability of EU enforcement authorities. Have a look at ‘EPPO for Dummies’, ‘Visions of Frontex: Transparency as the source of accountability’, and ‘CCP Supervision Proposal: More ESMA Powers but no accountability?’. Please find more blogs of EU law master students here.

13 March 2018 – Mira Scholten organized a workshop on “Challenges of supervision and enforcement in financial markets in the EU“, at the IOS Platform Markets and Corporations in Open Societies event. on the supervision of financial markets in the EU.

The workshop chaired by Prof. Dr. Alex Brenninkmeijer, member of the European Court of Auditors. Panelists included Dr. Margot Aelen (DNB), Ms. Ellen Bish (ING), Mr. David Henry Doyle (S&P Global), Dr. Miroslava Scholten (Utrecht University Department of Law), and Dr. Peter-Jan Engelen (Utrecht University Department of Economics). The session came to a close with an open discussion on “what’s next (in research) and how?”.

5 February 2018 – The “External Effects of European Union Law” and “Verticalization of Enforcement” projects were happy to organize a presentation by Dr. Florin Coman Kund on the new regulation of Europol.

The presentation was titled “The new legal framework for Europol’s international exchanges of data: tipping the balance between a high level of data protection and effective police cooperation?”, to accompany the  paper written by Dr. Florin Coman Kund on the same subject.

Koen Bovend’Eerdt (RENFORCE) and Carolyn Moser (Research Fellow at Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law) also have their reflections on the topic.

Florin Coman-Kund is an Assistant Professor in European Union law at the Department of International and European Law, Erasmus School of Law. He conducted extensive research on international and constitutional legal aspects of Union’s external administrative action and actors across various policy areas such as police cooperation, external border management, and aviation safety. He is currently focusing on multi-level and multi-actor regulatory/expertise-based decision-making processes in the context of the rule of law, as well as on vertical and shared enforcement of EU law in various policy areas such as aviation safety, migration, cross-border crime, and banking supervision.

7 December 2017 – Dr. Miroslava Scholten and Prof. Michiel Luchtman presented their edited volume ‘Law Enforcement by EU Authorities’ at the European Parliament, Brussels.

The event was organised with the help of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) and the discussion was chaired by Prof. Alex Brenninkmeijer (ECA’s Member, Honorary Professor at Utrecht University). After a short presentation of the book, its results and ‘vet’ project’s future plans by Mira and Michiel, Prof. Deirdre Curtin (European University Institute), Prof. Gerard C. Rowe (Viadriana University / University of Luxemburg) and Prof. John Vervaele (Utrecht University) gave their reactions on the book.

After that, Martina Dlabayovà (Member of the European Parliament) approached the trend that the book analyses from the perspective of political accountability, Dr. Jan Inghelram (Court of Justice of the European Union) discussed the possibilities and limits of judicial accountability in this area and Dr. Despina Chatzimanoli (European Banking Authority) brought in a perspective of EU agencies. An insightful discussion was followed by an official presentation of the book to the last three speakers by the editors Mira and Michiel.

29 November 2017 – Last week we followed a presentation by a RENFORCE visiting scholar, David Fernández Rojo, a PhD researcher from the School of Law at the University of Deusto, Spain. He spoke about the evolution of the operational competences and cooperation delegated to Frontex, Easo and Europol, as well as the future prospect of integrated migration, border protection and asylum administration. The dissussant for David’s presentation and paper was Dominique Barnhoorn, a Ph.D. researcher at the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG, UvA).

24 November 2017 – together with colleagues from Maastricht University, the ‘vet’ project team has organized a panel at the annual Ius Commune conference. The focus has been on the legitimacy of the delegation of rule making and enforcement powers to public and private bodies from a constitutional viewpoint. The panel has assessed the delegation of powers from a variety of perspectives including; historical aspects, the judicial review of harmonized standards, fundamental rights in EU law, and the accountability of rule-making and enforcement authorities. The vet project was particularly glad to welcome Dr Merijn Chamon, from Ghent University, as a guest speaker. 

16 November 2017 – Mira Scholten was invited to participate in an expert workshop ‘the Legitimacy of Depoliticized Decision-Making’ at ARENA – Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo (16-17 November 2017). This workshop is part of a REFLEX research project jointly funded by the Research Council of Norway’s FRIPRO Toppforsk (top research) scheme and the University of Oslo. REFLEX stands for: Democracy and Expert Rule: The Quest for Reflexive Legitimacy.

15 May 2017 – Mira Scholten publishes ‘Mind the trend! Enforcement of EU law has been moving to ‘Brussels’’ in the Journal of European Public Policy. The article discusses three of the EU’s direct enforcement strategies, and outlines the problem-solving potential of such enforcement strategies while acknowledging the challenges that they bring along. Mira aims to urge and facilitate further research on the EU’s (direct) enforcement strategies, their legitimacy, effectiveness and operation.

11 May 2017 – 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.

24 March 2017 – EU Law master students of the course ‘Capita Selecta: Enforcement by EU agencies’ have published and presented five blogs in which they discuss accountability of EU enforcement authorities. Have a look at ‘EPPO for Dummies’, ‘ECN: what happens in the worst case (allocation)?’, ‘Are the European supervisors guilty for the Germanwings-crash?’, ‘ESMA: power comes with responsibility’, and ‘Frontex+: An Institutional Odyssey’. Please find more blogs of EU law master students here.

30 September 2016 – A combined blog for Dr. Miroslava Scholten’s ‘Shared enforcement but separated controls in the EU – how to make it work for democracy and the rule of law?’ veni project, and Prof. Dr. Michiel Luchtman’s ‘The rise of EU law enforcement authorities – Protecting fundamental rights and liberties in a transnational law enforcement area’ vidi project, was created.

1 September 2016 – The second meeting of participants of the ‘vet project’ took place. The first drafts of future chapters of an edited book on shared enforcement were discussed.


24 August 2016 – On behalf of also Martino Maggetti and Esther Versluis, Mira Scholten presented their paper on the shared enforcement and accountability at the 2016 EGPA conference.

14 July 2016 – Mira Scholten received a veni grant to conduct research ‘Shared enforcement but separated controls in the EU – how to make it work for democracy and the rule of law?’.

 7 March 2016 – EU Law master students of the course ‘Capita Selecta: Enforcement by EU agencies’ (thematically a part of the ‘vet’ project) have published three blogs in which they discuss accountability of EU enforcement authorities – the newly proposed European Border and Coast Guard, the EASA and its new proposal for revision of the regulation, and OLAF. Please find more blogs of EU law master students here.

26 February 2016 –  The kick-off meeting of the “VET”project took place at Utrecht University.

VET Kickoff 2VET kickoff

23 February 2016 – Professor Annetje Ottow was invited to give a key note speech at the international conference on ‘Enforcement in a Europe without Borders’ organized by the Netherlands Inspection Council in the course of the Netherlands’ Presidency in the Council in the EU.

Argyro Karagianni and Miroslava Scholten also participated in this international conference.

Annetje OttowDutch Presidency


1-2 February 2016 – Marloes van Rijsbergen and Miroslava Scholten were invited to present their paper (forthcoming in the European Journal of Risk RegTARNulation) on the judicial control over the inspection power of ESMA at the first workshop of The Agency Research Network (TARN), at ARENA, Oslo, Norway.

Merijn Chamon, Martino Maggetti and Esther Versluis (external partners of the “VET” project) presented their work at this workshop too.


 2 July 2015 – Miroslava Scholten presented her paper ‘Mind the Trend! Enforcement of EU law is moving to ‘Brussels” at the International Conference on Public Policy, Milan, Italy.

1 June 2015 – Michiel Luchtman received a vidi grant to conduct research ‘Criminal law enforcement by European authorities: fundamental rights under threat?’.

January-June 2015 – Marloes van Rijsbergen carried out a traineeship at the Legal, Convergence and Enforcement Department of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in Paris, France.

 10 November 2014 – First internal meeting of the project.