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.


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. 

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’.





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.

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.