Jean Monnet Network on enforcement of EU law (EULEN)

Jean Monnet Network

The enforcement of EU law and policies – whether they deal with securing our societies against transnational crime, the stability and competitiveness of our markets or migration and border management – have become a shared concern and responsibility for the EU and its Member States. Three developments mark the growing influence of the EU on law enforcement, i.e. on the monitoring of compliance of substantive norms of EU law, the investigation of alleged breaches of law and sanctioning for non-compliance:

  1. the increasing emphasis of the EU legislator on enforcement convergence and on how nation states organize their systems of public and/or private enforcement (indirect or decentralized enforcement);
  2. the proliferation of new models of transnational enforcement cooperation, i.e. the shift from traditional international cooperation towards new, transnational forms of cooperation under a framework of common goals, rules and institutions (e.g. the European Arrest Warrant, joint investigation teams, operational enforcement networks);
  3. the proliferation of EU authorities with direct enforcement powers vis-à-vis private actors, including the sanctioning of infringements of EU law by these actors (direct or centralized enforcement).

These three developments bring along a delicate interplay between the many different actors involved and confront the EU and its Member States with new challenges. First, there is the challenge to align models for effective law enforcement, predominantly still based on the model of the nation-state, with rule of law standards in the shared legal order of the EU. Second, there is the challenge to obtain a fair balance between the need to integrate the enforcement of EU policies in national systems, customs and practices and the need to accommodate a level playing field at the transnational and supranational levels. Finally, there is a need to address the challenges for law enforcement in the digital era.

Enforcement doctrine and practice are however still very much nationally oriented. Academic knowledge is fragmented among and within different scientific disciplines (law; political science; economics, etc.) and policy areas.
EULEN comes at a timely moment. It bridges the existing fragmentations along the lines of national jurisdictions, policy areas and scientific disciplines. In order to address the challenges for law enforcement in a world without territorial borders, EULEN offers an academic network, connecting academic research and teaching to clear societal needs, objectives and stakeholders.