Spotify, Joe Rogan and the Digital Services Act – the Sound of Issues to Come?

For Ruairí Harrison and Anne Koopmans, as the intrigue into the final contours of the Digital Services Act (DSA) is displaced by an anticipation as to the Act’s impact on both the user experience and platform transparency, the emphasis on social media platforms is hard to avoid. Yet as the dust similarly settles on the Joe Rogan-Neil Young controversy for Spotify, how will the DSA impact Europe’s leading streaming service? Further, is the DSA appropriately ‘future proof’ to address Spotify’s increasingly diversified business model or is there a necessity for focused regulatory action on digital streaming services?

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The Application of the Comparator Approach by the CJEU in Gender Recognition Cases

In November 2020, the European Commission published its LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025, committing to improving the recognition of trans and non-binary identities, and intersex people. For Leens van Kessel, LLB student at Utrecht University, the European protection of the human rights of transgender persons would benefit from a clearer application of what she dubs the ‘comparator approach’ in CJEU cases regarding discrimination on grounds of gender recognition.

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The Case of EncroChat and the Presumption of Innocence in EU Law

What if law enforcement had the power to take down an entire phone network? How comfortable would you feel if your messages were exposed and viewed at length? When the EncroChat network was compromised by French law enforcement in 2020, questions were raised not only about the capability to access highly secure information, but also how the presumption of innocence is afforded to criminal suspects pre-trial. For current Utrecht LLM student Suzanne Flynn, as trends in law enforcement progress towards detection rather than reaction, the takedown of the EncroChat network encapsulates a sea change in the area of encryption and the law enforcement response thereto.

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The EU’s Media Freedom Act – Bolstering Core Union Values through the Narrow Prism of the Internal Market?

Credit: siam.pukkato (Shutterstock)

When the European Commission announced its upcoming Media Freedom Act (MFA) last year, many were taken aback by what seemed a bold step into the Fourth Pillar of Democracy. Yet within months of its announcement, the indispensable nature of a pluralistic media would be brought to bear beyond the former Eastern Bloc as Russian citizens fail to recognise the atrocities their armed forces are committing in Ukraine due to the non-existence of independent Russian media. As media freedom is also contracting in Europe, Ruairí Harrison assesses the Commission’s proposed approach to both reimagine and reinforce media freedom in the EU-27.

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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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Security-driven EU-Ukraine relationships within and beyond the Eastern Neighbourhood Policy

Ukraine is ‘one of us and we want them in’, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on 27 February 2022, in response to Ukraine’s bid for membership. In this post, Machiko Kanetake argues that the EU’s response regarding Ukraine’s accession should not reproduce a fundamental ambivalence underlying the EU’s relations with its eastern neighbourhood.

This post is the fifth and last 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. It follows analysis of the EU’s response to the migratory flow, the EU’s decision to provide weapons to Ukraine, the EU’s economic sanctions, and the role of social media in times of war.

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The role of information and social media warfare in the Ukrainian conflict

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, European media and social networks have been flooded with information and videos from both sides. The info-media war between Russia and Ukraine plays a key role in this conflict. For guest contributor Noemi Mena Montes, Ukraine is winning the narrative – read her blogpost to understand how.

The post is the fourth 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, and follows analysis of the EU’s response to the migratory flow from Ukraine, the EU’s decision to provide weapons to Ukraine, and the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia. Stay tuned to RENFORCE Blog for further commentary on the EU’s neighbourhood policies and Ukraine.

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Defending a Rules-Based International Order? The EU’s Adoption of Restrictive Measures in Response to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

The EU has adopted unprecedented “massive and targeted sanctions” in response to Russia’s ‘Special Military Operation’ in Ukraine. For Alexandra Hofer, the sanctioners are demonstrating “unmatched levels of coordination” but are struggling to garner additional international support. If the objective is to change Russia’s behaviour, she argues, the EU and its partners need to be clearer about the sanctions’ objectives. However, Russia (unsurprisingly no doubt) does not perceive the sanctions as legitimate and does not appear to believe the sanctioners are willing to lift the measures.

The post is the third 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 Salvatore Nicolosi on the EU’s response to the migratory flow from Ukraine, and here for Nathan Meershoek on the EU’s decision to provide weapons to Ukraine. Stay tuned to RENFORCE Blog for further analysis of the EU’s neighbourhood policies and Ukraine, and of coverage of the war in the media.

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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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The Unexpected Resurrection of the Temporary Protection Directive following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

The unprecedented activation of the 2001 Temporary Protection Directive in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been welcomed as a ‘smart and pragmatic response of the EU institutions’. In this post, Salvatore Nicolosi (with the assistance of Francesca Bertin) suggests a more cautious approach, highlighting the risk of States using alternative protection labels based on emergency legislative measures to downgrade their obligations under international and EU refugee law, while generating a fictitious sense of solidarity. 

Dr Nicolosi’s post is the first 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. Stay tuned to RENFORCE Blog for further analysis of the EU’s decision to provide weapons to Ukraine, 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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