Recent Publications

Kalliopi Kokkinaki

Competition law seeks to protect competition on the market as a means of enhancing consumer welfare and of ensuring an efficient allocation of resources. In order to be successful, therefore, competition authorities should be adequately equipped and have at their disposal all necessary enforcement tools. However, at the EU level the current enforcement system of competition rules allows only for the imposition of administrative fines by the European Commission to liable undertakings.

The main objectives, in turn, of an enforcement policy based on financial penalties are two fold: to impose sanctions on infringing undertakings which reflect the seriousness of the violation, and to ensure that the risk of penalties will deter both the infringing undertakings (often referred to as 'specific deterrence') and other undertakings that may be considering anti-competitive activities from engaging in them (often referred to as 'general deterrence'). In all circumstances, it is important to ensure that pecuniary sanctions imposed on infringing undertakings are proportionate and not excessive.

Although pecuniary sanctions against infringing undertakings are a crucial part of the arsenal needed to deter competition law violations, they may not be sufficient. One alternative option in that regard is the strategic use of sanctions against the individuals involved in, or responsible for, the infringements. Sanctions against individuals are documented to focus the minds of directors and employees to comply with competition rules as they themselves, in addition to the undertakings in which they are employed, are at risk of infringements.

Individual criminal penalties, including custodial sanctions, have been in fact adopted by almost half of the EU Member States. This is a powerful tool but is also limited in scope and hard to implement in practice mostly due to the high standards of proof required and the political consensus that needs first to be built. Administrative sanctions for individuals, on the other hand, promise to deliver up to a certain extent the same beneficial results as criminal sanctions whilst at the same time their adoption is not likely to meet strong opposition and their implementation in practice can be both efficient and effective.

Directors’ disqualification, in particular, provides a strong individual incentive for each member, or prospective member, of the Board as well as other senior executives, to take compliance with competition law seriously. It is a flexible and promising tool that if added to the arsenal of the European Commission could bring balance to the current sanctioning system and that, in turn, would in all likelihood make the enforcement of EU competition rules more effective.

Therefore, it is submitted that a competition law regime in order to be effective should be able to deliver policy objectives through a variety of tools, not simply by imposing significant pecuniary sanctions to infringing undertakings. It is also clear that individual sanctions, mostly of an administrative nature, are likely to play an increasingly important role as they focus the minds of those in business who might
otherwise be inclined to regard infringing the law as a matter of corporate risk rather than of personal risk. At the EU level, in particular, the adoption of directors’ disqualification promises to deliver more effective compliance and greater overall economic impact.

Marta Miglietti

The aim of this paper is to analyse the proposed Directive on criminal sanctions for
insider dealing and market manipulation (COM(2011)654 final), which represents the
first exercise of the European Union competence provided for by Article 83(2) of the
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The proposal aims at harmonising
the sanctioning regimes provided by the Member States for market abuse, imposing
the introduction of criminal sanctions and providing an opportunity to critically
reflect on the position taken by the Commission towards the use of criminal law.

The paper will discuss briefly the evolution of the EU’s criminal law competence,
focusing on the Lisbon Treaty. It will analyse the ‘essentiality standard’ for the
harmonisation of criminal law included in Article 83(2) TFEU, concluding that this
standard encompasses both the subsidiarity and the ultima ratio principles and
implies important practical consequences for the Union’s legislator.

The research will then focus on the proposed Directive, trying to assess if the
Union’s legislator, notwithstanding the ‘symbolic’ function of this proposal in the
financial crisis, provides consistent arguments on the respect of the ‘essentiality
standard’. The paper will note that the proposal raises some concerns, because of
the lack of a clear reliance on empirical data regarding the essential need for the
introduction of criminal law provisions. It will be stressed that only the assessment
of the essential need of an EU action, according to the standard set in Article 83(2)
TFEU, can guarantee a coherent choice of the areas interested by the harmonisation
process, preventing the legislator to choose on the basis of other grounds.

Aurelie Sgro
Julie Marchal
Chantal Lacroix

In recent months, the migratory impacts of environmental degradation and climate change have gained increased worldwide attention. In response to the publication of the EC Staff Working Document on Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and Migration, this policy brief critically outlines current themes and issues that surround this global phenomenon, specifically the findings of current international research which frame the discussions on terminology and current legal, political and institutional conceptual debates. Several proposals were put forward during a Policy Forum in January 2013. Firstly, there is a need for tailored and actionable research outputs that take into account political pressures and realities on the ground. Secondly, migration and climate policies would be clearly boosted through the elaboration of a common policy-oriented research agenda of which elements were put forward at the event. Finally, efficient communication tools and channels could be developed to transfer research findings to policy-makers.

Thien Uyen DO

The transposition of the Racial Equality Directive (2000/43/EC) has immensely enhanced legal protection against discrimination on the grounds of racial and ethnic origin throughout the EU. More than 10 years after its adoption, the main challenge identified in many Member States is the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in practice, in particular with regard to access to justice. Ultimately it is up to the domestic courts to ensure effective implementation of anti-discrimination law. Polls regularly show that the discrepancy between the levels of discrimination experienced and discrimination re- ported by victims must be seriously addressed. Awareness is low not only among the public but also among the members of the legal professions, leading to under-reporting of discrimination cases. In addition, data that reflect the ethnic or racial composition of the population are scarce which makes it difficult to prove discrimination before the competent authorities. Moreover, certain procedural difficulties that affect access to justice and effective enforcement also stem from the short limitation periods foreseen in legislation, lengthy procedures, evidence, high costs and failures in the provision of legal aid, ineffective sanctions, as well as barriers in the form of language and issues relating to legal standing or legitimate interest. The law remains complex and remedies often inadequate.

September 2013

Data Talks - Policy Forums on Cyber Security, Data Protection & Open Data - IES Spring Lecture Series 2013: Multilevel governance of migration and immigrant integration - Training Course on Security, Fragility and Development - EU Foreign Affairs Podcast Series - EU Climate Policy & Greening the Environment - New Book: The Politico- Military Dynamics of European Crisis Response Operations by Alexander Mattelaer - Upcoming EU in Close Up October 2013

Gosia Pearson


This Working Paper offers detailed analysis of EU-UNICEF cooperation on the rights of the child in the European Union's external relations, in particular as regards linkages between the EU policy priorities and concrete actions to advance the protection and promotion of child rights in third countries. It addresses a number of crucial questions: how has the EU’s external policy on the rights of the child developed over the past decade, what were these developments influenced by and what role did UNICEF play in these processes; what is the legal and policy framework for EU-UNICEF cooperation in foreign policy and what added-value it brings; what mechanisms are used by the EU and UNICEF to improve child rights protection in third countries and what are the motivations behind their field cooperation. The study starts by examining the development of the EU’s foreign policy on the rights of the child and covers the legal basis enshrined in EU treaties, the policy framework, and the implementation instruments and then investigates the evolution of the EU’s relations with the United Nations. The paper focuses on the EU’s cooperation with UNICEF by looking into the legal and political framework for EU-UNICEF relations, the policy-oriented cooperation and joint implementation of projects on the ground in third countries. This section outlines the rationale behind the practical cooperation as well as the factors for success and obstacles hindering the delivery of sustainable results. Finally, the Working Paper concludes with suggestions on how EU-UNICEF cooperation could be further enhanced following recent developments, namely the 2012 EU Strategic Framework and the Action Plan on Human Rights as well as human rights country strategies.

About the author

Dr Gosia Pearson has experience in human rights from both academia (Jagiellonian University, Oxford University) and as a policy-maker and practitioner (European Commission, European External Action Service). All views expressed in this Working Paper are solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of EU institutions and services.

Alexander Mattelaer

New book on European Crisis Response Operations

How do European armed forces generate the desired political effects in containing crises? In his new book, The Politico-Military Dynamics of European Crisis Response Operations, Alexander Mattelaer argues that modern operations rely on a strategic template based on deterrence and capacity-building. The book appeared in the new "European Union in International Affairs" series published by Palgrave Macmillan and institutionally supported by the IES.

On 29 November 2012, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) voted overwhelmingly to accord Palestine ‘Non-Member Observer State’ Status in the UN. In the first part of this Policy Brief, the implications of upgrading the status of Palestine with regard to the possible role of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will be assessed. In April 2012, the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC declined to accept jurisdiction for acts committed on the territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002, justifying its decision based on the fact that Palestine had, at the time, only the status of an ‘Observer Entity’ at the UN. Subsequently, it will be analysed if the Palestinian pursuit of its cause before the ICC can be considered as an effective lawfare strategy or rather as a poisoned chalice.

What future for European land power?

Mattelaer, A. 23 Jun 2013 In : European Geostrategy.

Research output: ResearchOther scientific journal contribution

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Geostrategy
StatePublished - 23 Jun 2013

The European Council meeting on 7 and 8 February 2013 attracted an unusual level of attention from media and citizens. For a couple of days, Europe played a more important role in national politics and news. Sensation-frenzied media and excited politicians spouted notions of ‘a battle’, ‘winners’, ‘losers’ or ‘striking deals’, as if Europe had gone back to the time when its military powers still conflicted. After more than 24 hours of intense negotiations, the respective Member States leaders left Brussels with ‘good news’ for their citizens. However, those with more Euro-federalist feelings were left with a sense of non-accomplishment and missed opportunities, not only because the EU budget for the first time in history was set for a net decrease, but also because the European Council’s conclusions did not contain any ground-breaking changes to this system. Nevertheless, the European Parliament (EP) immediately reminded Europe about its role and outlined its conditions for further negotiations. Thus, the supporters of a modern and stronger EU budget still see a chance in the consent procedure and hope to shift the focus of the debate from the juste retour spirit to the consideration of the European common good. Is there still a chance for such a shift? What issues are at stake?