Law Enforcement by EU Authorities
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Law Enforcement by EU Authorities

Implications for Political and Judicial Accountability

Edited by Miroslava Scholten and Michiel Luchtman

EU law and governance have faced a new development – the proliferation of EU enforcement authorities, which have grown in number over the last 15 years. These entities, either acting alone or together with national enforcement authorities, have been investigating and sanctioning private actors on their compliance with EU law. Law Enforcement by EU Authorities investigates whether the system of control (in terms of both judicial and political accountability) has evolved to support the new system of law enforcement in the EU.
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Chapter 14: Political and judicial accountability in shared enforcement in the EU

Miroslava Scholten, Martino Maggetti and Esther Versluis


The focus of this chapter is on the shift of direct enforcement power from the national to the European Union (EU) level (‘verticalization’) and accountability in this new system of shared enforcement. Has the shift of direct enforcement power been accompanied by the establishment of an appropriate accountability system? What have we learned about accountability for enforcement, including in a multi-level setting? Based on the comparative insights of the legal frameworks of all EU Enforcement Authorities and relevant national enforcement authorities, it shows that political accountability for enforcement tasks is overall quite weak. While the overall degree of accountability of EEAs is not very high, in some types of relationships it is higher than in others. The powerful EEAs are formally more accountable, although they are so mostly by judicial means. The chapter concludes with highlighting three challenges to accountability in shared enforcement – those which limit/restrict the scope of political accountability; those which hinder/weaken execution of accountability; and those which undermine the very existence of accountability – and directions for necessary further research in the emerging field of shared enforcement in the EU.

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