Category Archives: The multi-layered legal order

EU sanctions against Russia: does the duty to freeze assets of listed persons also extend to their voting rights in corporations?

For Cedric Ryngaert, there are limits to the duty to freeze assets of persons listed under the EU sanctions regime against Russia. In particular, he approves of a recent decision of the District Court of Amsterdam, which held that a listed shareholder in a Dutch corporation should not be barred from voting regarding matters of corporate governance. He argues that such voting need not result in funds being transferred to Russia, which could be used to fund the war in Ukraine. Still, he believes that the Court of Justice of the EU may want to give more guidance on the matter on the basis of a preliminary ruling.

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The CJEU judgments in C-117/20 bpost and C-151/20 Nordzucker: Fundamental rights as a vehicle for hybrid enforcement mechanisms?

In its recent judgments in bpost and Nordzucker, the CJEU held – in essence – that to prevent a violation of the ne bis in idem guarantee in Article 50 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, public authorities need to cooperate and coordinate their punitive enforcement actions, also when they are active in different policy areas or in other jurisdictions. According to Michiel Luchtman, the paradoxical result seems to be that to prevent one fundamental right from being violated, it is necessary to accept (sometimes intrusive) interferences with other rights. Has the Court now entered a slippery slope, eliminating fundamental rights barriers, to promote the effective enforcement of EU law? And if so, at the expense of what?

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The EU’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: a new direction in EU defence policy or a reinforcement of military interdependence?

The EU has responded relatively fiercely to Russia’s military aggression, with the Council’s decision to deliver weapons to Ukraine even coined a ‘watershed moment’ in European integration. The EU’s involvement in the military domain is expanding rapidly. In this blogpost, Nathan Meershoek argues that the EU’s engagement should not, however, be considered ‘new’ or fundamentally different from previous defence policies. EU defence policy and military procurement regulation should, he insists, be understood and further developed as a reinforcement of national sovereignty and an addition to NATO cooperation rather than their replacement.

The post is the second in a series drawing on a RENFORCE expert seminar on the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine, held online on 8th March 2022. Click here to read Dr Salvatore Nicolosi’s take on the EU’s response to the migratory flow from Ukraine, and stay tuned to RENFORCE Blog for further analysis of the EU’s neighbourhood policies and Ukraine, the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia and the Ukraine war in the media.

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Origin-labelling legislation in the EU: striking the balance between free movement and consumer protection

Consumers increasingly want access to information regarding the origin of products. Buying local is en vogue, offering a sense of greater certainty as to the quality and safety of products, the hope of a lower carbon footprint and a way to support local communities. This trend, however legitimate, also provides an opportunity for States to promote their domestic production – a temptation which is only getting stronger with the current economic crisis and the need to rescue national economies. In this context, origin-labelling can be used as a tool to guide consumers towards local purchases. In this post, Vincent Delhomme shows how EU law currently prevents Member States from imposing wide ranging origin-labelling requirements on products and argues, should any reform take place, for preserving the overall spirit of this legal framework.

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Will Directive 2020/1828 on the EU representative action lead to ‘better’ enforcement, as envisaged by the New Deal for Consumers?

The enforcement of consumer law has traditionally been based primarily on private enforcement, complemented by administrative enforcement. Because of longstanding issues of non-compliance with EU consumer rights, the Commission has introduced an ‘EU representative action’. In this tenth and final post in RENFORCE Blog’s special series on the enforcement of EU law, Esther van Schagen summarises the main features of the new Directive and explains some of the assumptions as to the effect of more enforcement which underlie the Directive and become visible in the impact assessment. Arguably, the Directive has overlooked opportunities that could have contributed to managing key barriers to bringing collective actions – the complexity, length and costs of collective redress – and which ought to be addressed in order to enhance cross-border enforcement.

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Digital forensics standards: Enforcement under the radar of EU plans for electronic evidence

In the ninth post in RENFORCE Blog’s special series on enforcement, Gavin Robinson argues that the extreme volatility of electronic data calls for EU law to promote not only efficient and secure access thereto for criminal investigators, but also robust standards of digital forensics. Currently, it is national laws and criminal justice systems which achieve varying levels of forensic soundness for digital evidence. Drawing on a comparative, multidisciplinary research project and sharing insight from legal practice in Luxembourg, the post advocates a stronger emphasis on the development of common European rules on digital forensics – potentially within dedicated EU legislation on the admissibility of evidence.

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Enforcement of intellectual property rights: pioneering in private enforcement

European law plays a major role in the enforcement of intellectual property rights. The innovative rules and practices developed by the EU in this area provide a wide range of enforcement tools and introduce a European system of enforcement principles. In this post, the sixth in RENFORCE Blog’s special series on the enforcement of EU law, Peter Blok explains that intellectual property law is therefore a rich source for the study and further development of European law enforcement in general and private law enforcement in particular. 

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Towards Better Enforcement of EU Chemicals Rules: The 2020 Commission Strategy and the Registration of Chemicals

EU chemicals policy has been one of the most ambitious and detailed areas of the EU regulatory polity. In part five of RENFORCE Blog’s special series on the enforcement of EU law, Leander Stähler addresses a concrete challenge to enforcing these rules – the registration of chemicals – and highlights the potential of the Commission’s new strategy.

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The case of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and the complex enforcement of EU medicines policy

Based on the member states’ responses to the rare but severe side effects of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, one might be tempted to believe that there is no common approach to enforcing European Union (EU) medicines policy. In this post, the fourth in a special RENFORCE Blog series on the enforcement of EU law, Laurens van Kreij takes a more nuanced look at medicines policy’s complexities, and explains why the national responses were able to diverge so strongly. He thinks the chances of rapid and major change are slim.

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The EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime: How to Enforce Member States’ Compliance with Travel Bans?

In this second post in RENFORCE Blog’s special series on enforcement, Cedric Ryngaert highlights the Commission’s unsuccessful attempts to expand its limited enforcement powers over travel bans in the context of the recent adoption of the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime. If centralized EU-level enforcement of travel bans is desirable, how might it be secured: through treaty change, or political pressure?

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