Jean Monnet Network on enforcement of EU law (EULEN)

Finding balance between differentiated enforcement and a European level playing field

The enforcement of EU law is premised on contradictory assumptions. On the one hand, creating a level playing field is an important goal of EU policies. This implies a high level of uniformity in enforcement across the EU, even if the enforcement predominantly takes place in and by the member states. On the other hand, effective enforcement (or indeed: effective policy-making more generally) often requires some form of sensitivity and adaptation to differences in local circumstances – in terms of the cultural, economic, legal, natural and social contexts within which EU law operates. This implies a certain level of discretion for member states in determining how exactly to enforce EU law and hence the existence of differences between member states in the way EU law is enforced (‘differentiated enforcement’). This stream focuses on this tension and seeks to identify ways of dealing with it.

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